Women in Dentistry

Today, women make up between 48% (Russia) to 75% (Finland) of the dentist workforce. And yet, in the United States, women hold just 18% of dental school dean positions and make up only 14.8% of major dental journal editorial boards. Female clinicians are less likely than men to own a clinic or take post-graduate qualifications and the average annual income of full-time, self-employed women was 37% lower than the income of full-time, self-employed men, which clearly demonstrates the persistence of the gender wage gap.1

40 years after the United Nations declared the convention2 for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, it is reported that almost half of dental students and female dental care professionals will experience harassment from either male dentists or male patients.3

Notwithstanding these challenges, women are entering the dental profession at higher rates than men in some countries: this means that they must be prepared for and supported into leadership roles. It is imperative that as an advocacy leader, FDI inspires and encourages women to achieve their full potential.

The Women in Dentistry project was established to highlight the challenges of the current situation, a persistent gender wage gap, lack of female leadership, unevenly balanced panels and conferences that feature mostly men and very few women and emphasize opportunities and showcase how women bring positive changes in leadership, innovation and in different fields of dentistry.

Women in Dentistry


  1. Blanton P. Women in Dentistry: Negotiating the Move to Leadership. J Dent Educ. 2006;70(11 suppl).
  2. A/RES/34/180 - Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women - UN Documents: Gathering a body of global agreements [Internet]. [cited 2019 Mar 1]. Available from: http://www.un-documents.net/a34r180.htm
  3. Pallavi SK, Rajkumar GC. Professional practice among woman dentist. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent. 2011;1(1):14–9.

Goal 1

Engage, incentivize, and empower all women in dentistry to be involved in shaping and leading the profession, today and tomorrow.

Goal 2

Emphasize opportunities and showcase how women bring positive changes and innovation.

Goal 3

Advocate for women to be equally represented and included at every level of the profession.


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