‘One in three working mothers in Britain is now the main earner in her family’, so said Alexandra Killewald, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University, in a recent interview. 1
Give that the numbers of female dentists in the UK are growing and are expected to tip the balance by 2020, this kind of information is increasingly relevant in dentistry. If we take Prof. Killewald at her word, it would seem fair to suggest that about one-third of female dentists are the main breadwinners in their household.
When I first considered this idea, I was quite taken aback by the reality of the amount of pressure put on women – not only are those with families often the main carers for their children but (through their own hard work and success) many are now also the main earner.
For those dentists who earn more than their partners and have a family to care for, life is quite the juggling act. We recognise that you have to make decisions throughout your life based on the needs of your family, resulting in results that are not necessarily ideal for your career.
The outcome of this decision-making process may be to take a career break in order to care for young children. Whilst this, of course, allows you to enjoy time with your little ones, it can leave you worrying about a potential lack of funds. However, there are possible ways to get around this problem, including sharing the childcare responsibilities with your partner, careful financial planning in advance of starting a family, or doing things like approaching your mortgage lender to ask for a payment ‘holiday’ − to make what is coming in stretch further for that finite period of time.
Also of significance, of course, is the need for childcare outside of it being provided by your immediate family. This is particularly apropos at the moment, given that it is the summer holidays. At a minimum you’re in the middle of six weeks of school and nursery closures. You don’t need us to tell you that it has a huge financial impact. Not working during this period can make a big dent in your earnings unless you have the right arrangement with your Principal. There may also be some serious stress in ‘catching up’ after the holidays, so plan ahead for future school breaks. If you are not sure what can be achieved, or what is ‘normal’, ask us!
As you may have read in our previous blogs, we have carried out a number of surveys relating to women in dentistry. The results we have gathered have enabled us to develop our already significant understanding of what women in the dental profession want from us, as business advisers.
With that in mind, why not get in contact with us? After all, we’re here to help!
1. http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/women-can-have-it-all-if-theyre-not-the-breadwinner-6pvclm6l7. Date accessed 11/08/2016