The number of women that are pursuing a career in dentistry continues to rise. As a world-leading authority on cosmetic dentistry, the BACD has always promoted excellence among dental professionals, regardless of their experience, background and gender. The organisation’s commitment to the betterment of all dental team members is a key reason why it retains inspirational female leaders within its diverse community of members.
Having led back office operations at the BACD since its inception, Suzy Rowlands understands more than most why dental professionals are drawn to the academy, she explains, “What makes the BACD stand out to other organisations is that it’s friendly and welcoming. We encourage all age groups and genders to join the academy and regularly ask members what they would like from us in terms of education, additional membership benefits and everything else in between. Moreover, the networking opportunities at BACD events – especially the annual conference – are second-to-none.”
Arti Singh has spent the past few years on the BACD communications committee and believes the dental landscape has changed significantly since she graduated as a dentist. “There are certainly more prominent women in leadership, educational and speaking positions across the profession,” she says. “I’ve found the BACD to be an inclusive, supportive and positive motivating force. As a BACD member, I have access to courses, webinars, mentoring and other benefits. I’m most grateful to have a BACD network of friends and colleagues, who act as a sounding board if I need clinical support or advice.
“Membership of the BACD offers women in dentistry all of these benefits and over the past three years, the academy has curated a dedicated Ladies Who Do Dentistry (LWDD) event. In doing so, it has created a space for women to feel supported and empowered. I’ve always been encouraged to share my ideas at the BACD – most recently, I was delighted to be able to bring the innovative digital communication tool, Chairsyde, to the BACD as a member benefit.”
Maysoon Abdelmajeed has also been heavily involved with the BACD’s progression since she joined the academy several years ago, before moving to Dubai. She now supports the BACD young membership committee in the appointment of new student representatives each year. She says, “I’ve never felt disadvantaged as a dentist because I’m a woman, but I have seen more men than women in positions of responsibility in dentistry. For me, it is important that anyone who is appointed to these positions is done so based on what they can bring to the table, rather than on their sex or gender. If you happen to be a woman and you’re interested in taking on such roles, then don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and showcase what you have to offer.
“When it comes to the BACD board of directors or committees, for instance, it’s important to understand that being part of these leadership groups requires a great deal of time and commitment, beyond your clinical responsibilities. However, the opportunity is there if you want to get involved and support is available to help you excel. The BACD is certainly proactive in its support of women in dentistry, having established the LWDD group, which provides a useful support network. It’s encouraging to see that there are female dentists within leadership roles at the academy, but I would love to see more women take up the mantle.”
Sheila Nguyen has been involved with the BACD since she was a student eight years ago. Now a committee member, she continues to appreciate the family-feel that the BACD offers all its members, saying, “Dentistry can be isolating, so being able to turn to the BACD for advice and guidance, and to feel connected to others, is crucial. The BACD is a family and whether you need support in clinical or more personal work-related issues, there is always someone with similar experiences to allay your fears and give you the confidence to make the right decision for you. It’s a safe space and a completely inclusive family – you are welcome regardless of gender, age, background, personal preferences or clinical achievement. There are also always opportunities for all members to fulfil committee or board roles if they want to. I am not a woman in the BACD – I am a member of the BACD, a dentist and part of the family.”
As membership director on the BACD board, Carol Somerville Roberts advocates strongly for women to join the BACD and take advantage of the opportunities that membership offers, particularly through the LWDD group, “The BACD has provided me access to some of the best dentists in the UK, whom I now count as friends and colleagues,” she comments. “They have inspired me to push myself to be better and believe that I can achieve what I set out to do. Being a member of the BACD also means that I have access to great education as well as trade benefits but, above all, I can network and share my passion for cosmetic dentistry with peers who have the same goals. The LWDD group brings together younger and more experienced female dentist in order to support each other in a collaborative way.
“I would absolutely encourage women to join the BACD, as they will find many other women who are excelling within the profession. The BACD is a very friendly, welcoming academy that puts education, passion and integrity at the heart of what it does. It has shaped my career and I can definitely say that I would not be the dentist I am now, nor would I have the practice I do, without the BACD.”
Young dentist and chair of the BACD young membership committee, Lydia Sharples, agrees that joining the academy can give you the best possible start to your dental career, as she says, “I’m very proud to be part of the BACD board of directors. I became a BACD member after attending a lecture on minimally invasive dentistry, which opened my eyes to a whole new standard of practice. Nearly all of my mentors are people I have met via the BACD. My professional development plan has been inspired by what I’ve seen at BACD educational events and what I’ve learnt through other academy members. The support from the network of friends and colleagues I have gained through BACD membership has been absolutely invaluable and I’m so grateful for it.
“The LWDD event is a perfect example of how the BACD supports women in dentistry, which, to me, is such an important part of the academy and really unique. Of course, the event is educational but it’s also fun and inspiring. Along with the BACD Annual Conference and Young Dentist Day, it is the highlight of my dental calendar.”