Dental School Gender Profiling


Dental School The New Gender Battleground

Dentists are split over the issue of gender profiling in dental school admissions. In a Wealthy Dentist survey, the slight majority opposed gender discrimination. However, many dentists felt that favoring male applicants could increase access to dental care.

Gender Wars at Dental SchoolMarch 7, 2008 (San Francisco, California) – A recent Wealthy Dentist survey asked dentists if they think it is legitimate for dental schools to favor male applicants. The majority (58%) disagreed, saying that gender discrimination is unacceptable. However, a whopping
42% said yes, it’s okay to give preference to those who will give back the most.

Studies have found that female dentists work less than their male colleagues (by about 4 hours per week). Women dentists, particularly those with small children, are more likely to work part-time. So, the argument goes, the average male dentist provides more total care to the public over the course of his career than the average female dentist.

Men and women had drastically different opinions on the matter of gender profiling. While 55% of male dentists felt that favoring male applicants was acceptable, only 12% of female dentists agreed.

Many respondents were appalled by the suggestion that a dental school might consider the applicant’s gender. “Live with it, people. Discrimination in any form is un-American,” said a male orthodontist. “Dentistry should be embarrassed by this continued pattern of stupidity,” offered another male dentist.

It is possible that dental schools prefer men because they donate more. “What a bunch of crap. It is surely more about the money for the dental schools; as in, how much they will get back in donations,” said one male dentist.  “As a female dental student in the 1970s, I was harassed and discriminated against regularly,” a female dentist said. “Although I give money to my undergraduate college, I have never given to my dental school because of the way I was treated.”

Many reserved their harshest criticism for those who receive dental degrees from state schools and do not practice dentistry. “Anyone accepting a position in a state school needs to make a mental commitment to practice for at least 15 years to justify taking up that admittance slot,” opined a female periodontist. “With the average cost to the public of a public dental school education exceeding $100,000 per graduating doctor, a fair criteria for determining which students receive these dollars
should be benefit to the public,” agreed a male dentist.

Many dentists slammed part-timers. “With a shortage of dentists on the horizon, dental schools closing and the rising cost of dental education, it would seem unfair to the American public, especially the poor and underserved, to train part-time workers in this field!” said one general dentist. “I am so tired of seeing female dentists who don’t want to work. Stop taking a spot in dental school. You have an obligation
to the profession. If you only want to work part-time, be a hygienist!” complained a female dental office worker.

Some female dentists were shocked that anyone would even consider such an idea. “This is a ridiculous survey. These are ideas from the year 1800!” said one woman. “Perhaps the dental schools should have the female applicants sign a ‘no children’ contract. Are we in China?” another asked rhetorically.

On the other hand, some male dentists felt favoring male applicants would be perfectly reasonable. “Be realistic! The need for care has to be satisfied no matter what the uppity feminist ladies happen to believe,” wrote one. “My professional lifespan is 8 times that of the average female dentist. It may not be P.C., but it is true,” offered another. This man was even more blunt: “I’m a dentist. Guys are better at it. Period.”

Some find gender profiling as offensive as racial profiling. “It’s no different than, for example, a restaurant making a black man wait for a table, while a white businessman gets better service, simply because one group may statistically give higher tips than the other. Do such rules not apply to dental schools?” asked a male dentist.

Female dentists mentioned facing prejudice during their educations and careers. “As a female dentist, I still have to deal with gender bias when it comes to associate job interviews. I am still asked to this day if I am married and do I have kids at an interview!” said one woman.

One hard-working woman dentist defended her career. “I am a female dentist who has been in practice 25 years. The vast majority of that time I have been a single mother receiving little or no child support. I took one week off after the birth of my third child. I practice 60-70 hours a week. I’d challenge any male dentist to ‘give back’ more than I do!”

“Whew!” sighed Jim Du Molin, dental management consultant and founder of dental marketing resource The Wealthy Dentist. “People rarely talk about this issue, but it’s a big one, particularly in dentistry. I hope talking about it openly can help ease this professional Battle of the Sexes!”


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Jim Du Molin

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