So today is International Women’s Day it is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others. If you would like to read more about this day click here.
So in honour of IWD we would like to take the time to appreciate how far women have come, especially in Dentistry. Now as our patients know we are a predominantly female dental practice & even owned by a female – the Lovely Dr Anna Wills (was Taylor). So as a female of my generation it is difficult to imagine being restricted in your career or lifestyle choice. Now we are fully aware gender discrimination is not something of the stone age, in 2016 we are still working through and trying to accomplish gender parity; in all career choices.
Thankfully we have come so far now in the world of women practicing Dentistry. So here is a little bit of history; in 1852 women finally began practising Dentistry but it wasn’t until 1895 that the first licensed female dentist in Britain began to practise and her name was Lilian Lindsay. She subsequently joined the British Dental Association in November 1895 and then became the first woman to become a member.
Lilian Lindsay on her career choice
“Miss Buss … sent for me and announced that I was destined to be a teacher of the deaf and dumb. Whether the sudden attack roused my rebellious spirit or I may have had an allergy to teaching I do not know, but I refused to teach. This enraged Miss Buss who stated emphatically “Then I will prevent you from doing anything else”. Like a flash I replied “You cannot prevent me from being a dentist”. She prevented me from having that second scholarship. I knew nothing of dentistry, but having stated boldly that I would be a dentist, there was nothing else to be done.”Cohen E. Cohen RA. The Autobiography of Dr Lilian Lindsay. Br Dent J 1991 171(10) 325
In a time when there were no female dentists Lilian Lindsay gave herself a difficult task to accomplish, firstly she had to try and enrol in Dental School and even after being refused admittance (due to her gender) she still sought after achieving her goal. Finally Lilian was able to enrol at Edinburgh Dental Hospital and School. In 1946, Lindsay became the first female President of the British Dental Association, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Edinburgh and was awarded the CBE. She continued to expand the BDA library until her death in 1960, and received a number of awards and honorary degrees during this time. She truly sounded remarkable and I feel inspired just reading about everything she managed to achieve.
So Happy International Women’s Day, we hope Lilian Lindsay has inspired you all, that you strive to accomplish your dreams & not let a silly thing like gender get in your way 🙂
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