San Francisco, CA (PressExposure) April 14, 2008 -- 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.
Research indicates women dentists work several hours per week less than male dentists. Women who have young children are more likely to practice part-time. Thus, it would seem that male dentists, on average, provide more hours of care over the course of their careers.
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 full-time dentists are unimpressed with their part-time colleagues. "The reality is we are entering a time of declining supply of dentists and increasing population. For every slot in a dental school that is occupied, we are going to need a reasonable output of care from that individual!" said a male 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.
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.
How an applicant's gender is any business of the dental school escapes some dentists. "Live with it, people. Discrimination in any form is un-American," said a male orthodontist. "Women who want to be dentists should not be penalized," offered a female pediatric dentist.
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 PC, but it is true," offered another. This man was especially 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 shared their tales of working hard to fight discrimination. "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.
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."
"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!"