The Landscape for Women Leaders in Dental Education, Research, and Practice
Following early limitations on women becoming educated in and practicing dentistry, the proportion of women enrolled in dental schools around the world has increased dramatically over the past decades. Dental schools have undergone a transformation from male dominance to almost equal numbers in the United States and female predominance in other countries including the United Kingdom. However, this change in student gender distribution has not been matched among academic leaders. Data from across the globe indicate a clear disproportion in favor of males in leadership positions in dentistry—and the more senior the position, the greater the imbalance. This article reviews the evolving changes in gender distribution across the landscape of dental education, research, and practice and some initiatives to address the gender imbalance in leadership. Such initiatives can help to ensure that, in the future, the profession benefits from the spectrum of influences brought to bear by the leadership of both women and men.