With Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister, and starting firmly to make her mark in Downing Street, are we seeing a resurgence of strong women in powerful positions? And we have a leadership contest in the Labour Party with a strong female candidate as a favourite within the Parliamentary Party.
This also coming in a year where Hillary Clinton is seeking to become the first female President.
Are we entering a new age where women are taking charge?
It’s not just in politics where the role of women is garnering interest. For example, earlier this year we undertook a survey to gauge the attitudes of women in the dental profession. One of the most inspiring – but unsurprising given our extensive working relationship with dentists – findings was that 93% of respondents consider their career to be important to them. Alongside that, however, we learned that young female dentists had the perception that the profession at the sharp end, in Practice, is still firmly controlled by men.
Another interesting result was one of the reasons given by older female dentists as to why they didn’t specialise —- they didn’t have the time to look after a family whilst undertaking the training necessary, and the normal structure of a dental practice was not particularly helpful. This, we think, has been behind the perception that most (but definitely not all) of the senior figures in the dental industry are men.
But things are changing – both in politics and dentistry! Not long ago the number of men coming into dentistry was exceeded by the number of women for the first time. This is the culmination of a trend over the past three decades, and the trend is continuing. Rolling the clock forward another 10 years, the demography of the profession will be predominantly female.
This gives women the weight of numbers to change things — if they want to.
Women are forging ahead with their careers, in the knowledge that the modern world should not force limits on what they can achieve. I’m not saying it’s easy; for some the work/family balance is a real struggle but there hasn’t been a better time to be a woman in dentistry, making your own path to wherever you want to be, whether that is, for instance, as a specialist, full-time general dentist or part-time associate.
A woman should not have to choose between her career and the opportunity to start a family. For some women there is a clear choice but for many it does becomes a real dilemma, and more needs to be done to eliminate this. Now that women in the public eye are crashing past the glass ceiling and are in a position to make the weather, these challenges will be addressed and effectively overcome.