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ORIGINAL RESEARCH  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 358-362
Indian women dentists perspectives towards balancing professional, personal and social responsibilities


Department of Public Health Dentistry, Lenora Institute of Dental Sciences, Rajanagaram, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh, India

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Date of Submission03-Apr-2018
Date of Decision05-Apr-2019
Date of Acceptance15-Apr-2019
Date of Web Publication06-Aug-2020
 

   Abstract 


Introduction: The literature on women in dentistry clearly shows the evolution and elevation of women in academic as well as clinical dentistry. Female dentists in India continue to face the need to balance their careers with the competing social and personal responsibilities of marriage, homemaking, and child rearing. Aim: To assess Indian Women Dentists perspectives towards balancing professional, personal, and social responsibilities. Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted for 1 month among 159 female dental professionals comprising all the female dental practitioners in Rajahmundry city and all the female interns, postgraduates, and academicians from 2 dental institutions in Rajahmundry city. A 23-item pretested questionnaire was distributed to the participants on the first day and collected after 1 day. The results were analyzed using SPSS software (V.22). The categorical data were analyzed using the χ2 test and P ≤ 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. Results: Among the study participants, 79.2% of study participants agreed that family commitments were not obstacles for their career (P = 0.02), 86.2% responded that women should be successful in both home-making and career and 89.9% of participants reported as not regretting being women and this finding was found to be statistically significant. Conclusion: Majority of the women perceived that women ought to balance professional, personal, and social responsibilities equally.

Keywords: Social responsibilities, women dentists, women professionals

How to cite this article:
Nirupama YS, Boppana NK, Vinnakota NR, Thetakala RK, Kallakuri P, Karthik BK. Indian women dentists perspectives towards balancing professional, personal and social responsibilities. Indian J Dent Res 2020;31:358-62

How to cite this URL:
Nirupama YS, Boppana NK, Vinnakota NR, Thetakala RK, Kallakuri P, Karthik BK. Indian women dentists perspectives towards balancing professional, personal and social responsibilities. Indian J Dent Res [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Sep 18];31:358-62. Available from: http://www.ijdr.in/text.asp?2020/31/3/358/291481



   Introduction Top


All professions and mainly the health care profession are in a continual state of self-assessment aimed at advancing their disciplines in a consistent and measurable fashion. In lieu of the health care professions, the goal is to improve patient health, increase efficiency in the health care system, and ultimately enhance society as a whole. This evolution is particularly true for the dental profession[1] which provides unique opportunities for both women and men to exercise a high degree of autonomy and flexibility and at the same time, enjoy the status award associated with being a health care provider.[2] Moreover, the literature on women in dentistry clearly shows the evolution and elevation of women in academic as well as clinical dentistry.[3] Lucy Hobbs Taylor, the first woman in the world to graduate in 1866, explored the dynamics, which allowed for a change in the workforce of dentistry.[3]

Furthermore, women in Indian culture have a paradoxical status: on one hand, goddesses are worshipped for power and prosperity; on the other hand, working women face challenges because of age-old beliefs and sociocultural norms.[4] In most industrialized countries, there has been a steady increase in the proportion of women in the dentist workforce over the last 25 years.[5] Though their numbers in the dental profession are increasing, female dentists in India continue to face the need to balance their careers with the competing social and personal responsibilities of marriage, homemaking, and child rearing.[4] In addition, a larger proportion of females take career break than males, and such breaks tend to be followed by lower working hours upon returning to practice, and some women experience difficulties upon their return. On average, female dentists have also been found to retire earlier than male dentists[6] and they tend to work fewer hours per week than male dentists, thus having an impact on professions productivity.[5]

Therefore, there is a need to better understand the women dentist's attitudes towards balancing their professional, personal, and social responsibilities to lessen them and to increase the profession productivity. As the literature is sparse in this aspect, this study was undertaken with an aim to assess the perceptions of Indian women dentists towards balancing professional, personal, and social responsibilities.


   Materials and Methods Top


This cross-sectional study was conducted among 159 female dental professionals over a period of 1 month from November 5 to December 5, 2017. Sampling technique includes purposive sampling which comprises all the female dental practitioners in Rajahmundry city and all the female interns, postgraduate students, and academicians from 2 dental institutions in Rajahmundry city, East Godavari District. Prior ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethical review board, Lenora Institute of Dental Sciences. Permission from the dental institutions was obtained from the Head of the institutions. A pilot study was conducted on 20 volunteers to check for ease of completion, clarity and questionnaire relevancy. Based on feedback from the pilot survey, minor modifications were made and the final questionnaire was drafted by the authors. Content validity of the questionnaire was calculated by content validity ratio after distributing to a panel of 5 subject matter experts and content validity index score was found to be 0.8 which represents the adequate agreement.

The list of practicing female dentists in Rajahmundry was obtained from District Medical and Health Officer, Kakinada and list of students and the staff was collected from dental institution authorities. Participants were explained about the purpose of the study and assured that the information collected from them would remain confidential and informed consent was obtained from each study participants before responding to the questions.

The female participants who were present at the time of questionnaire distribution and willing to participate were included in the study. The individual who belongs to >1 study group were excluded from the main study as it can lead to differences in the viewpoints. Principal investigator approached individual participants and distributed a 23-item pretested, self-administered questionnaire consisting of both open and closed-ended questions and they were assured that they would not be individually identified in any research report and they were collected from the participants on the following day.

The questionnaire included demographic details, questions on family commitments, barriers to career development, gender discrimination, postmarriage career, and perspectives towards balancing professional, personal, and social responsibilities.

Statistical analysis

The results were entered in Microsoft Excel sheet and analyzed using SPSS software (IBM Corp, Released 2013, IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp). Categorical data were analyzed using the χ2 test and P ≤ 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.


   Results Top


The questionnaires were distributed to 180 members and out of them, 159 members responded indicating the response rate of 88.33%. Among 159 respondents, 108 (67.9%) were students, 27 (17%) were academicians, and the remaining 24 (15.1%) were dental practitioners.

[Table 1] depicts the distribution of study participants according to the response regarding their family and careers. Among the participants, 79.2% agreed that family commitments were not obstacles for their career and it was found to be statistically significant (P-value = 0.02). In spite of their schedule, 61.6% are having adequate time for personal care which was statistically significant.
Table 1: Distribution of study participants according to the response regarding their family and careers in Rajahmundry city, 2018

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Distribution of study participants to the response regarding research is represented in [Table 2]. Among them, 86.2% responded that women should be successful in both homemaking and career and [Table 3] depicts the distribution of study participants according to the response regarding gender discrimination. It was found that 89.9% of the study participants responded as not regretting being women which was found to be statistically significant.
Table 2: Distribution of study participants according to the response regarding research in Rajahmundry city, 2018

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Table 3: Distribution of study participants according to the response regarding gender discrimination in Rajahmundry city, 2018

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In this study, 20.9% of the participants were married and the response of participants regarding postmarriage carrier is depicted in [Table 4].
Table 4: Distribution of study participants according to the response regarding postmarriage career in Rajahmundry city, 2018

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   Discussion Top


This cross-sectional study investigated the perceptions of women dentists towards balancing professional, personal, and social responsibilities as a woman in India has to perform various roles as mother, daughter, sister, and wife.[3] Being a part of various roles, they considered their satisfaction with their personal and professional roles and the need to compromise and prioritize for the achievement of a work–family balance. The study respondents comprised of academicians and clinical practitioners who have to balance both professional and personal life, and students who were at the beginning of their professional career.

In this study, the majority responded that their family commitments were not keeping them from moving ahead in a career which was contradictory to the study conducted by Nagda[4] in which majority of the respondents reported that family commitments were barriers for career development. The probable reason might be, the majority of the participants, in this study were not married and hence they did not consider family commitments as obstacles for career development.

In this study, only 25.2% believed that single women can rise higher in the society when compared with married women, which was in contrast to the study findings of Nagda[4] and Tandon et al.[3] in which the majority of the participants believed that career prospects for single women were better than women who marry early. The differences observed in this study may be because of cultural changes and adaptability of women in tackling and sharing postmarriage responsibilities with spouse and mother-in-law without compromising career responsibilities.

A limited number of participants in this study felt that women should be a successful homemaker first, which was not in accordance with the study findings of Tandon et al.[3] and majority believed that women should balance both career and homemaking responsibilities signifying the intellectual makeup of women in this generation.

A total of 61.6% agreed that they have adequate time to take care of themselves indicating that their professional life was not impeding their personal life which was dissimilar to the study findings of Tandon et al.[3]. This result indicates that the women in this study were able to allocate time for both professional accountabilities and personal attention. But among female practitioners group, majority (54.2%) were not having adequate time for themselves which might be because of the extended working hours for practitioners when compared with students and academicians who had limited working hours. This can be the probable reason for the practitioners in believing family commitments as barriers for their career development compared with academicians and students.

In this study, very few participants responded that they were regretting being women implying that majority were self-confident and self-empowered enough to harmonize the personal, professional, and social responsibilities.

The major barriers believed by the study participants were family commitments, societal dealing, lack of freedom, marriage, and safety of women. These barriers were intensified by the “cultural contradictions of motherhood,” as women were increasingly encouraged to seek self-fulfillment in demanding careers. They also face intensified pressures to sacrifice themselves for their children by providing “intensive parenting,” highly involved childrearing and development.[7] Additional problems faced by employed women were those associated with finding adequate, affordable access to child and elderly care.[8],[9]

In this study, majority of the participants agreed that women were better administrators than men because of their multitasking abilities and a majority agreed that health care professions need more women leaders suggesting to increase the leadership prospects for female dentists in this and future dentistry. The probable reason was that majority of the participants in this study were believing that majority of patients felt more relaxed when they were being treated by a female dentist as they take time to get to know their patients before starting treatment,[10] which was also in line with the study done by Smith and Dundes in Maryland.[11]

Only 30% of married participants agreed that it was not easy for a man to take the fact that his wife was better placed in a career which was dissimilar to the study findings of Tandon et al.[3] implying the changing attitude of men in this generation which further encourages women to grow in career after marriage too. According to Sharma,[12] the support and involvement of husband positively relate to lower levels of role conflict experienced by the married working women.

Majority of married participants were limiting their working hours to reach home early implying that there were tendencies to compromise working hours after marriage as children and elderly family members require additional care, the obligation to meet their needs can influence family roles, which can create inter-role conflict,[13] and impact family roles,[14] producing family–work conflict.[15] Studies were also reported that women having younger children experience more role conflicts.[16],[17]

Most of the participants believed that maternity leave sanctioned was not sufficient which may be because of the working pattern and delivery of oral health care services by the private sector. This recommends considering the nurturing environments and amends maternity leave period.

Limitationsz

The cross-sectional study was conducted with a small sample size hence generalization of results is limited. In addition, student's proportion is more than clinicians and academicians in this study which can lead to attitude differences among groups.


   Recommendations Top


It is necessary to explore multiple waves of data collection over a longer period of time to better understand the changing nature of work and family roles over time. Hence, longitudinal studies need to be conducted to examine how the stages of life (e.g., marriage, childbirth, and child rearing) affect work and family concerns. Future studies should also continue to refine the methodology used in the area of work–family research.


   Conclusion Top


This study assessed the perceptions of women towards balancing professional, personal, and social responsibities in Rajahmundry city, India. The results of this study concluded that the majority of the women in Rajahmundry perceived that women ought to balance professional, personal, and social responsibilities equally.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.



 
   References Top

1.
Lamster IB, Eaves K. The Dental profession in transition. Am. J. Public Health 2011;101:1825-30.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Pallavi SK, Rajkumar GC. Professional practice among woman dentist. J Int Soc Prev Community Dent 2011;1:14-19.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Tandon S, Kohli A, Bhalla S. Barriers to leadership positions for Indian women in academic dentistry Int Dent J 2007;57:331-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Nagda SJ. Harmonizing professional, personal, and social responsibilities: Indian Women dentists' perspectives. J Dent Educ 2015;79:s23-6.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Adams TL. Feminization of professions: The case of women in dentistry. Can J Sociol 2005;30:71-94.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Ayers KMS, Thomson WM, Rich AM, Newton JT, Gender differences in dentists' working practices and job satisfaction. J Dent 2008;36:343-50.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Hays S. The cultural contradictions of motherhood. New York: Yale University Press; 1996.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Reskin B, Ross CE. Jobs, authority, and earnings among managers: The continuing significance of sex. Work Occup 1992;19:342-65.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Reskin B, Padavic I. Women and Men at Work. Thousand Oaks: Pine Gorge Press; 1994.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Gray J. The effect of the doctor's sex on the doctor-patient relationship. J R Coll Gen Pract 1987;37:540-3.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Smith MK, Dundes L. The implications of gender stereotypes for the dentist-patient relationship. J Dent Educ 2008;72:562-70.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Sharma S. Multiple role and women's health: A multi-linear model. Equal Oppor Int 1999;18:16-23.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Doby VJ, Caplan RD. Organizational stress as threat to reputation: Effects on anxiety at work and at home source. Acad. Manag J 1995;38:1105-23.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Piotrkowski CS, Rapoport RN, Rapoport R. Families and work. In: Sussman M, Steinmetz S, editors. Handbook of Marriage and the Family. New York, NY: Plenum; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Boise L, Neal MB. Family responsibilities and absenteeism: Employees caring for parents versus employees caring for children. J Manag Issues1996;2:218-38.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Buetell NJ, Greeehaus JH. Some sources and consequences of inter-role conflict among married women. Paper presented at The Annual Meeting of The Academy of Management, California, 1980.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Bedeian AG, Burke BG, Moffett RG. Outcomes of work-family conflict among married male and female professionals. J Manag 1998;14:475-91.  Back to cited text no. 17
    

Top
Correspondence Address:
Burri Kiran Karthik
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Lenora Institute of Dental Sciences, Rajanagaram, Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh
India
Dr. Yeluripati Sai Nirupama
Post Graduate Student, Department of Public Health Dentistry, Lenora Institute of Dental Sciences, Near HP Petrol Pump, NH-16, Rajanagaram, Rajahmundry - 533 294, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijdr.IJDR_299_18

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