Barriers to leadership positions for Indian women in academic dentistry

Shobha Tandon, Anil Kohli, Sumati Bhalla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Indian women, have come up a long way during the past 50 years. Gone are the days when the leadership positions in dentistry and health care professions were occupied solely by males and the women in-charge were looked down upon as anomalies. The staff rooms in dental and medical schools, the research laboratories in India today are employing women, who have quietly begun challenging the conventional male ideas that had shaped the policies earlier on. Women have advanced considerably in academic dentistry but like every coin, this story too, has two sides. In spite of the considerable gain in equity of status, women in research and academic careers related to health care professions still face innumerable barriers to their careers. This study was conducted with an aim to highlight the various barriers being faced by women in leadership positions in academic dentistry in India and this paper also suggests issues which require global concern for unbiased advancement of women. This was a questionnaire-based study in which the subjects were women in leadership positions in the various dental colleges in India. The questions are related to the various barriers like family commitments, attitude of the society, sexual harassment, gender bias and lack of cooperation from spouse which hinders the development of the careers of such women with tremendous potential. The results show that 67% of the subjects feel there are more barriers to their careers as women than men and health care professions definitely need more women leaders for improvement in women's health status globally. 63.5% of women in dentistry feel their family commitments are barriers to rising in their careers and 64.7% report that a marriage is happier if the husband's career graph is better than wife's. The survey results indicate that the same salary is paid to 93.5% women as their male colleagues. The results of the study show that there certainly has been a change in outlook of Indian women as they have broken the traditional norms and taken up careers in academic dentistry. There certainly is a positive side to this story but numerous challenges especially in the form of family commitments still remain for women in leadership positions in the dental colleges in India.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Dental Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2007
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Dentistry


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