Dentistry is an area where women have only recently started to enter. Unlike most medicinal workforces that are about 30 percent women, only about 20 percent of dental practitioners are female. The numbers are rising however, and estimates forecast by 2020, this rate will jump up to 29 percent.
As more young women choose to study dentistry, however, many are often faced with a tough roadblock. If they want both, how do they balance a future career in dentistry while also bringing up and maintaining a family? This problem may be why the Census Bureau found about 28 percent of female dentists work part-time (versus 15 percent of male dentists). Many families still maintain the idea that the wife’s duty is first to family, and many female dentists often prioritize their home life over their work by simply working fewer hours.
This is, of course, a very practical solution in some situations. Working part-time reduces the pressure on a job simply because less time needs to be dedicated to it More time is freed up so female practitioners spend on the important task of caring for a family.
Sometimes, however, cutting down working hours to part-time just can’t solve the problem. They may need the extra income, especially if they are a single parent. Fortunately, dentistry is unlike many other fields because it allows for a certain amount of flexibility when it comes to establishing work schedules. Drs. Mark Scarbecz and Judith Ross discovered that, since 76 percent of dental clinics are solo practices, dentists have more freedom to set their own hours of operation (unlike other doctors and nurses, for example, who may have very strict schedules or uncompromising situations because they work at a clinic or hospital). Also, dentists commonly choose schedules that work best for patients with nine-to-five jobs.
Having this flexibility is important because it allows female dentists to figure out a schedule to accommodate both their families and their practices. For example, a mother can choose to open her practice only while her children are in school, or she can find a way to work around her spouse’s hours. Being able to decide when to work can be vital to creating a system that works best for each family.
Because everyone’s situation is different, there is unfortunately no perfect solution for everyone. Some families may be able to carefully balance all their needs while others may demand the mother work only part-time. However, having the capacity to decide how best to proceed still vital to achieving the key balance between career and family. Aria Dental of Annapolis recognizes the obligation every family has to their children. Call 410-280-5370 to set up an appointment today.