Examining the Role of Gender in Dental School Admissions
Right now I’m running one of my most controversial surveys ever about the role of gender in dental school admissions. Here’s the background information:
- The ADA reports that female dentists, particularly those with young children, work significantly fewer hours per week than their male counterparts.
- Research indicates that male graduates donate back to their professional institutions at higher rates than female graduates.
- With too many qualified female applicants, some educational institutions have had to adopt higher standards for women in order to maintain an even gender ratio.
- Some suggest that favoring male applicants would enable dental schools to provide more care to the public and more quality education.
And here’s the survey question:
Do you think it is legitimate for dental schools to favor male applicants?
— No. Gender discrimination is unacceptable.
— Yes. It’s okay to give preference to those who will give back the most.
Please note that The Wealthy Dentist does not have an editorial stance on this topic. This question has been extremely contentious among our staff. One woman felt it was “yet more male myth-making,” a man gave a nod to “financial realities,” and we argued for days about how to word the question. But there’s no sidestepping controversy with a topic like this!
I’ve gotten so much interesting feedback already that I just had to share a few of these comments with you.
Oh! Are we finally talking about this?
- “I’m a little surprised that this topic has come into the open view but, it is undeniable, it’s happening out there all the time. The profession is losing manpower hours at a time when there’s a call to serve more people.” (General dentist)
Why is an applicant’s gender the school’s business?
- “Live with it people. Discrimination in any form (for a group or against a group) where the objective is a merit based achievement, is un-American.” (Male orthodontist)
Are you kidding me with this question?!? [One side]
- “Perhaps the dental schools should have the female applicants sign a ‘no children’ contract… Are we in China?” (Female dentist)
Are you kidding me with this question?!? [The other side]
- “Be realistic! The need for care has to be satisfied no matter what the uppity feminist ladies happen to believe.” (Male dentist)
We need more dentists serving the needy
- “The real problem is the fact that no one, male or female, wants to work in rural, poor or underserved areas.” (Female dentist)
We should give men preference
- “If men were given preference, there would be more dentists in total practice hours and therefore less need to employ unlicensed foreign dentists in public health clinics here in Massachusetts.” (Male dentist)
How is gender bias different from racial discrimination?
- “It’s no different than a restaurant making, say, 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. Is it okay for a restaurant to discriminate? Do such rules not apply to dental schools?” (Male dentist)
It’s a matter of who provides the most care to the public
- “Women working significantly fewer hours (or not at all) seems to be reality. At least half of the all the female dentists that I have known in my 32 years of dentistry fit into that mold.” (Male dentist)