Future – proofing the profession

Attendees at Women in Dentistry event Andrea Ubhi explains how the Inspiring Women in Dentistry conference came about, its aims and ambitions, and how it will raise much-needed funds for a charity very close to her heart.

It may seem like a contradiction in terms, but when I ran my first NHS practice, which I started as a cold squat in 1997, I never fully understood why women in dentistry needed to have women’s meetings.

It seemed alien to me. I always saw women as equal to men. After all, you never saw men having meetings to discuss their inequalities. However, my views on this were about to change.

In 2014, I sold my NHS practice. With some time on my hands, I looked for charity work. This is when I started to associate with Asha Nepal. At the time, it was a small, struggling charity working to support the women survivors of trafficking and severe violence in Nepal.

Travelling to meet the team to see how I could help, I was struck by the inequalities Nepalese women were facing because of their gender. They were unable to obtain gainful employment or achieve their ambitions because they were being trafficked and abused. Quite frankly, this was a shock to me.

Back at home, this experience made me consider the lesser, but still fundamentally important, inequalities of women in the UK.

From a dental perspective, only 19% of practice owners are female. Less than 5% of implant dentists worldwide are women and only a small proportion of specialists are women.

These statistics seem odd to me, especially when viewed in the wider context of the number of women within the dental profession.

In 2017-18, 49% of registered dentists and 50% of NHS high street dentists were women. The dental student intake of women was 63%. Clearly, there’s an issue here.

Martina Hodgson and Andrea Ubhi at the Inspiring Women in Dentistry conferenceOrigins

Inspiring Women in Dentistry came to life after I bumped into Martina Hodgson by chance in a coffee shop.

We talked about all aspects of the business of dentistry. But, importantly, we also discussed how inspiring it is to speak to other women working in the profession.

It can be difficult for women to meet because they have several commitments, especially if they are also raising children. We wanted to challenge the inequalities of women in the workplace.

So, in 2018, we organised several pilot events that women responded to and eventually culminated in this milestone event. Our conference coincides with International Women’s Day 2020. It will take place on 6 March at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Leeds.

The aim of this conference is to inspire women to be everything they want to be whilst raising money to support the work of Asha Nepal . We want women to have fun, be enthused and feel they have the support to achieve great things. They can do and be whoever they want to be, without anything holding them back. The event focuses on women; however, all genders are welcome.

We warmly welcome all women in dentistry: practice owners, dentists, dental therapists, treatment coordinators, dental technicians, dental hygienists, practice managers, dental nurses and receptionists, as well as all women working in the wider dental industry.

Andrea Ubhi speaking at the 2019 Inspiring Women in Dentistry conferencePower talks

We are delighted to present an exciting day packed with inspirational talks from astounding women, inside and outside of dentistry.

These include motivational sportswoman Sally Gunnell OBE, leading dental business consultant Laura Horton, award-winning dental hygienist Anna Middleton, digital dentistry advocate Vinnie Thandi, and founder of Mind Ninja, counsellor and cognitive behavioural therapist Mahrukh Khwaja.

Martina and I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our event partners and sponsors, with a special thank you to one of our leading sponsors, Dentsply Sirona.

Speaking about why this event is so important to women in the dental profession, Eybi Becerra, UK and Ireland brand marketing manager at Dentsply Sirona, says: ‘As a company we want to make sure we do everything we can to support women in dentistry as more and more women are qualifying as dentists.

‘Overall, our aim is to be inclusive. We want to make sure women always feel empowered to succeed on an equal level to their male counterparts.’