Dental careers

Female career progression

Sir, you recently published an interesting research article regarding the career aspirations of female dental students and trainees.1 It is well documented that there are increasing numbers of females entering the profession but this study further showed that more young female dentists are considering specialties that were traditionally male dominated. However, leadership positions are still disproportionately filled by males. This highlights the need for more female role models and mentors to be present in these positions. It is also important that dental institutions play an increasing role in educating their students regarding the career options available to them, including those that may allow them to continue working or continue specialty training pathways whilst affording them the flexibility that they may want.

The results from this study showed that 63% of respondents, of which 70% were females, wanted to work part-time 15 years post-qualification. This decision may play a role in hindering their progression to more senior roles. Therefore, there should be provisions in place to improve chances of career progression for those working part-time. The decisions regarding an individual's career flexibility are personal and everyone is entitled to make these according to their own priorities. However, if their progression is being affected due to a lack of accommodation for those females who want to take career breaks or work part-time then, as a profession, we are failing 50.4% of our colleagues.


  1. 1.

    Khan S, Ibrahim S, Butt R, Ahmed B, White D. The influence of gender on career aspirations of University of Birmingham dental students and junior trainees in the West Midlands. Br Dent J 2020; 228: 933-937.

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Correspondence to A. Tahir.

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Tahir, A. Female career progression. Br Dent J 229, 327 (2020).

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