This week marks International Women’s Day (8th March) which celebrates the achievements of women around the globe. We’re using it as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of female dentists as there are now more women than ever in the profession.
Dentistry was traditionally seen as a male-dominated profession. But, according to data from the NHS, the number of women in dentistry has been steadily rising for the last decade. In fact, of all the dentists aged under 35, more than half of the workforce are female. We’re seeing that trend at mydentist too. Currently 57% of all our clinicians are female.
So what’s driving this recent trend? To find out more we spoke to one of our clinicians, Dr Shamlakan Aly.
She told us what motivated her to train as a dentist in her home country, Egypt, before moving to the UK to continue her career.
What made you want to be a dentist?
Dr Aly: I really wanted to help people and dentistry seemed like a field where I could do that. Some patients have a fear of the dentist, but I felt that I could make a difference to nervous patients and help change their perspective on a visit to the dentist.
Have you noticed a change in the number of women working in dentistry?
Dr Aly: I can certainly see a difference, even from just a few years ago. For example, in recent training sessions there have been twice as many females as males. I think we’re being taken more seriously, too, and competing with our male colleagues on a level playing field.
What advice would you give other women in the field?
Dr Aly: There’s no denying that being a dentist is challenging because you are always pushing yourself to do the very best for your patients. Whether you’re male or female you need plenty of resilience and the ability to create a balance between working, studying and your personal life.
What’s the most rewarding thing about being a dentist?
Dr Aly: There’s many rewarding parts and it’s a challenging career, but the best bit is that you get to be the reason people smile – literally.
I’ve seen plenty of patients who avoid smiling or even socialising all together because of how they feel about their teeth. But when you can give them their smile and confidence back it’s incredibly satisfying.
Dr Aly is a dentist at our Hannaford’s Landing practice in Salcombe. She spoke at our clinical conference last year to discuss the challenges for dentists moving from abroad to the UK and support offered by mydentist.
If you’re studying to be a dentist learn about all the support we can give you at each stage of your career here. Or, if you’re interested in current vacancies in our practices and head office visit our dedicated careers site.