Are women underrepresented in dentistry? Over half of dental graduates are female, yet only one in five podcast guests has been female.
And there is also an underrepresentation in academia, on the lecture circuit and in almost every walk of the profession.
Our new mini-series looks at the issues by revisiting some of Prav and Payman’s most insightful conversations with dentistry’s leading ladies.
In This Episode
01.32 – Mahrukh Khwaja
07.16 – Zainab Al-Mukhtar
09.41 – Elaine Mo
14.12 – Linda Greenwall
20.58 – Vicky Wilson
26.37 – Jenny Pinder
29.15 – Rhona Eskander
32.45 – Sofina Ahmed
35.41 – Victoria Holden
42.52 – Lucy Patel
44.14- Uchenna Okoye
[00:00:05] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav Solanki.
[00:00:22] More than 50% of Dental graduates are now female, and yet women are underrepresented in academia on the lecture circuit. Even as practice principles. Even on this podcast, I’m a bit ashamed to say that our co-hosts have been one in four women between one in four and one in five women. Is it harder to be a woman in dentistry? What are the reasons? Delighted to introduce a new mini series to you called Leading Ladies, where we’ve gathered some of the best bits of conversations that we’ve had on the Leaders podcast with women, and the lady leaders will be discussing some of the issues around the subjects that I’ve been talking about, some of the barriers, and also we’ll be celebrating some of their amazing achievements. And one thread that runs through it, listening to to some of these for me is the juggle that people have to do if they want to have successful careers and successful family lives. Anyway, let’s hope this goes some way to redressing the balance. Enjoy leading ladies. Thanks a lot. Mara al-Khawaja. Why aren’t there more women speakers at the conference? And I thought about it and you know, we had Slaney McGraw on and she was. From my point of view, probably the best speaker, the most useful content that we had on that day. But at the time, I didn’t appreciate the question. I thought, why should there be more women on until I kind of turned it around? And I thought, Well, what? How would I have felt as delegate if there was eight women and one man? I would probably have wanted more men. And so this question of empowering women in dentistry, which is, you know, your thing, your group and so on, where did it start and the history about it?
[00:02:15] So empowering women in dentistry really started from a feeling of frustration that women weren’t being equally represented in all strands of dentistry. So when I was looking at this in a practice setting where there are lots of principles out there that were female or even at conference setting, academia research, and I’d got to a point in my dentistry, I was in a bit of a rut and I was looking to upskill, but finding a real lack of mentorship and a feeling of disconnection from other women and feeling quite isolated, being in practice and just really wanting to connect more with positive, uplifting women. So yeah, that’s where the concept started.
[00:03:07] But what do you think is the reason why there aren’t more women role models? Do you think that they’ve been held back, or do you think that there’s something about women that doesn’t put themselves forward? Or is it about having children? What is it? Is it all of those things?
[00:03:20] I think it’s a really complex and interesting question. There’s lots of different strands and they definitely all interplay. I think for me, the biggest, biggest aspect is looking at fear, fear of failure, fear that women might have of speaking up and having a voice. Are they going to be ridiculed, criticised? So yeah, definitely. Are they putting themselves forward? Perhaps not so much. And why is that? Looking at the psychology behind that definitely being mother does impact your dentistry, especially if you’re not supported. So if your principal, for example, isn’t allowing for flexible working patterns, etc., that would impact things as well. So I think it’s definitely complex. I feel like it potentially could be a man’s club as well, where men in high visibility roles may not be giving the equal opportunities to women. But having said that, women can step forward and create that seat at the table. So I’d love to see that more.
[00:04:29] And you’ve been interviewing successful women then as yourself. Is there something about them that’s more masculine or is there something about them that’s a threat that you’ve seen go through those women? Are they the type who don’t care what people think about them or.
[00:04:46] Yeah, it’s been a really interesting journey talking to women and there’s lots of different things I’ve gained from that. Common thread I found was actually they’ve all been they’ve all experienced a difficult scenario. They’ve all been bullied or harassed at work, which was really surprising to me.
[00:05:07] All of the ones you’ve spoken to.
[00:05:09] Pretty much all of them. Wow. Yeah. Super successful. Yes. Yes, definitely. And so I thought that perhaps there is a. Faced as someone who might be harassed. But no, actually, it’s successful, really driven. Women have experienced some difficult situations but have flipped it around and have looked at self gross and used yeah, used that that situation and really grown from it. So I think that’s been the most surprising element actually coming out of of the interviews.
[00:05:41] Have you come across any sort of female speakers, lecturers, mentors in dentistry who’ve made it that haven’t had to sort of turn that negative energy around, have been harassed or bullied and just made it positive on their own own two feet from from the ground up.
[00:06:00] Yeah, definitely. I have come across a few women like that as well that I’ve had generally quite positive experiences. But I would say that the minority actually so majority have experienced some difficulty and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the workplace, it might be in a relationship or just generally in life. They’ve kind of come from their own rock bottom and they’ve wanted to change things around.
[00:06:30] Isn’t that a human thing? I mean, or do you think do you think forget dentistry? Do you think it’s harder to be a woman in society than being a man in today’s society?
[00:06:40] I would say so. I’m not sure. But I think it can be because women have the expectations to do well in their career, but also to be a great mother, to be great wife. So it’s all these hats that they’re juggling and there’s more pressure to be the best in all of these areas. Not to say that men don’t experience this, but sometimes it feels like we’re being sold a dream that it’s very hard to achieve. You know, something has to give. So, Zainab al-Mukhtar and although we’re successful dentists, etcetera, we’re quite happy not using our voice. So there is this assumption that women don’t mind, but actually I think women have a lot to offer. So I think that does need to change and there needs to be more of an emphasis on what women can deliver in our profession.
[00:07:35] And do you think being a mother factors into that? I mean, Linda was talking earlier about being a mother, feeding the child, waking up early, waking up at night, running the practice. You know, eight days after giving birth, she was in the practice. And just balancing all of that, I mean, just just talk me through. You’re a mother. You’ve got one on the way in about ten days time. Just talk us through how you balance all that and how that factors in your future success.
[00:08:06] Yeah, it’s not easy. It’s really hard work and I don’t know whether I mean, I work really, really, really, really hard, but I don’t know if I would have if I didn’t really enjoy the work. And I think because I enjoy it and it gives me so much fulfilment, it’s become a part of my identity that for me to sit at home continuously for a whole year would be dampening down something that’s really there, like really wanting to do something. And I couldn’t do it. So I tried to, you know, I was at home for six months with my daughter. I really enjoyed it. She’s my number one. I it meant the world to me to have her. But that constant feeding, that constant nappies and so on and just literally just being in that routine and not being able to talk to a child, you know, at some point you just want to get out and do what you do. So seven months in, I was really trying to get back to work and finding a support network to make it work. And I just did it really, really gradually. It wasn’t easy. I nursed my baby for two years, but I still went to work. So I just worked around everything. And I think what’s beautiful about dentistry is that women have the option to work part time and then just build up and adapt according to your child’s needs so you can make it work. And some professions don’t allow that. And then women are torn and want to be at work, they want to be at home, and they have to then just choose. And not everyone can get the best of both worlds. But I think we’re lucky we can. But it’s not been easy and it’s definitely a struggle. The juggle is real. It’s definitely tough.
[00:09:41] Elaine Mot And at a young age, when I was thrown into that kind of atmosphere, it was weird because I was 16, 17, and I was paying the wages on weekends because my mum, my mum had the day off and I, if any complaints came my way, I had to deal with it when I was 16. So when you’re forced to do that at a young age, it really does imbed it into you. And I think the biggest I think now when I look back, the one of the biggest impact on my life is probably my schooling as well. Where I think back then it was like, Oh. School is so annoying. They expect you to stay behind. They’re doing this and that. But I went I actually now when I look back, I’m so grateful I went to a fantastic school where they push you to go further. And it’s interesting. I sat down with my a few of my friends every day and we could we said that we could actually see from a mile away the the people who came out from that school, majority of them are pushed to go further. It’s not that you’re doing it really, really well. That’s not the end of it. There’s always that next step, and it’s there very much into people’s skills. So I remember when we used to be when when we were in A-levels, we meant to have a lot of free time. They forced us every week to do some form of community service. So I did mine first. Yeah. Stroke association dealing with stroke patients and helping them recover every single week. So we never actually got time off. My second year was dealing with actually going back to my own primary school and teaching kids and but thing is, things like this, you don’t take you take for granted and then you realise when you look back on it actually.
[00:11:19] Yeah, we got to school, what was the name of the school?
[00:11:21] So I went to Merchant Tailors. It was a prep school in Liverpool. We have a branch in London as well. Very good school. And you know what that I think that is the difference in schooling is actually it’s not the education side of it, it’s.
[00:11:34] The things around.
[00:11:35] It’s actually everything around and moulding you as a person, which is what and the maturity that you get from it is what pushes you further. And sure, I think everyone was in a similar where the parents were doing quite well in business and everyone was in a similar vibe. So growing out with with the same kind of people around you.
[00:11:51] To perhaps point, how come you’re not saying, I want to open a chain of dental practices, by the way, by the way, by the way, you don’t always just because your parents are that way, a lot of people go the exact opposite of what I do. And I think you see the world through the lens of if you can be an entrepreneur, why wouldn’t you?
[00:12:07] Of course, but.
[00:12:08] Lots of people don’t.
[00:12:09] Don’t want to do. Yeah, right. Yeah. No, I see that. But I also see something in your personality and in you that makes you naturally gifted that way.
[00:12:19] For me, I think in my mind there’s always there is that leadership thing that I always want to take on. And I guess part of me is I’m heavily involved at the moment with Dentine or Tubules, as Payman knows, and since I’ve been involved with that, I think I’ve kind of taken over like the Central London Group. And it’s that said that at the moment gives me my fulfilment of the whole leadership and everything mentorship role. And it’s nice because when I was kind of in this rut of where am I going to be working full time? I’ve just kind of like getting out of NHS. I was, I was around eight practices in one year. Every single time I joined, I was ready to hand in my notice because it was just nothing that was promised. And you know what it’s like in London, you pick up the first private role that’s going, but then you realise that it’s never probably as green as you thought it would be. And you know what? I was kind of I knew what I wanted to do and what type of dentistry I wanted to do, and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less. So I kept on going and finding until I found my like kind of jobs that I’m really, really happy at. And they push me as well to do further. And that’s what I wanted. But it’s I think it’s that perseverance as well. It’s really easy just to give up. So I at this time, I was lucky I was in I met some good mentors, some really good clinicians around me, took up every one of their knowledges and kind of, you know, what took to my opportunities.
[00:13:43] Who are your clinical mentors?
[00:13:45] So when when I was after I had quite a few mentors I had I had physio who’s helping me with implant surgery work. I had Richard Porter who helped me with restorative and and Ontex. I met so many people like I can’t even Priscilla Osborne. I really can’t like name everyone. Sure. And then I met Drew through Tubules. And you know what? They gave that bit of confidence that you just need when you just think feel a bit deflated.
[00:14:13] Linda Greenwald So the day that I was there at Buckingham Palace, we met a lot of the police, we met a lot of people working in the health service, people working in the services. A lot of people give of their time unconditionally again, to create a better world to to to do good. And what happened with the seminar? What happened? It was announced in June. And then I went to the ceremony. My mum was invited, she was delighted and my husband and one child was allowed and when it was held at the Tower of London and the Queen, the Queen’s emissary, which is the Lord Lieutenant of London, gives out the medals. And he started by saying that at the me at the event he said this morning I was reading the paper and having my coffee while you’re all driving. Yeah. Or getting here and reading the news is very depressing, he said. But today you’re going to hear very inspirational stories of people that have really made London a better place. And so what happens with the medal ceremony is you go up onto the stage and they read out to. Citation citation about you and about what you’ve done in your life for about 10 minutes. And then you receive your medal and, and have a nice photo. But the stories of the other recipients was very inspirational. And it’s a regular person who has done good and taken it upon themselves to do good. And I I’m interested in that kind of story. I’m interested in somebody who wants to make their life better. They come from nothing with no no graduation, no nothing. But they have a determination to want to do good like the we watched Good Will Hunting this movie. It’s one of the greatest movies to see that process of a person to start, create something out of nothing, to do good for society. I think that’s really a key to making movies.
[00:16:02] Have you seen that Sugar Man movie?
[00:16:03] Yes, I did. So when we grew up.
[00:16:06] You know that.
[00:16:07] Music? Yeah, absolutely. It was, you know, it was band. Yeah. And so because it.
[00:16:11] Was kind of anti-apartheid.
[00:16:12] Yes. And all kinds of things anti. And when I went to summer camp we would all I used to play the guitar and I used to play it all that music that friends and yeah, it was quite, quite a big thing going forward.
[00:16:25] Linda I’m sure you got things that you want to achieve, like Prav were saying, but do you think looking back on your life, there were the things that maybe your family missed out on because of your your achievements, your your your ambition? Did Dr. Cohen take Henry to bits that you should have been doing? Or or were you no regrets? And you feel like you did did everything right? What would you what would you do differently?
[00:16:51] There’s a lot of questions in that.
[00:16:52] One I started with going forward.
[00:16:56] So basically, first of all, I think that one shouldn’t have regrets. Yeah, I think that every opportunity is an opportunity for the positive as well as the negative. And you always seek the joy. You have to learn to seek the joy and seek the positivity. So if a situation arises which could be construed as a negative situation, the experience that you’re going through, how can you turn it into a positive? So what did we learn here? What did we do differently? How did how did this happen? Now that we’ve learned this in terms of not the the buzzword is reflection. On reflection, I would have done this, this and this differently. So we now know the challenges that arise are there to make you grow as a person.
[00:17:41] So what would you have done differently?
[00:17:42] Reflection Of course, we had lots of stress in lots of things like coming here from South Africa and working as a new graduate and working for a boss who was extremely tough on me. And then I was thinking about, for example, I thought, I’m sure it’s not legal to sign a form when you haven’t done the filling, but the boss says, just sign the form anyway. So then I started looking and taking advice. Is it right you have to sign these forms and it says you’ve done ten feelings but you didn’t do any. And so those kind of things are realised. You have to stand up for injustice if in your heart of hearts you know it’s wrong, it’s wrong. And so speaking up, that’s when you ask me about what, what is left to be done and what did you learn. I’ve learnt as you get older anyway, you speak up more when you in your twenties you always want to do the right thing. And what would this one say about me and what this one say about me in your twenties? When you get to my age now you can actually it’s very liberating because you have to speak up. You have to speak up.
[00:18:44] Your biggest strength is you don’t really care what people think by now.
[00:18:49] But I’ve learnt that you have to speak up. You have to say when you’re bringing up four boys who are rowdy and difficult and the and the neighbours got a window has been broken five times in one week, then you have to speak up and talk to the boys and say maybe we shouldn’t be playing football or cricket next to the neighbour’s window again. And so you have, you have to speak up and you have to speak up a lot and you have to say what you have to say and bring up boys. We can’t skirt around the issue. You have to deal with it head on and it is what it is. But the speaking up and they’re not tolerating not tolerating the bullying and not tolerating whatever is happening. This is not right. What needs to be rectified rather than get stuck in the misery of the wrong decision and the wrong and you spiral negatively downwards, you think, What can I do to rectify, to get out of the situation in terms of a patient? If something has happened and it happens, stuff happens all the time immediately apologise. I really I really strongly believe hold up your hands and say, I’m so sorry this has happened. I didn’t expect it to happen. We were not we weren’t expecting this. This has happened. I’m terribly sorry. I want to rectify the situation or whatever it is. Appease with the patient if it needs to give the money back there. And then for the simplest thing now rather don’t let it fester and fester till it’s a major volcano.
[00:20:15] Just so. Sort it out as quick as possible. Now, when you leave it to fester, it’s very stressful for your own personal circumstance, but it’s stressful for the patient, it’s stressful for the entire practice if these things are going on in the complaints going on. So I think that speaking up quickly, rectifying as soon as you can as quick as possible and move on. Learn from it. Don’t dwell on it. Learn from it. This is what I learnt. But move on, move forward, proceed forwards without dwelling on the negative. If you spend too much time thinking about the negative, it holds you back and you spiral. So rather think about I learned from this. This happened. Stuff happened. I’m so sorry. Move forward. How can we rectify? Victoria Wilson It’s a juggling act, but I was just saying outside, Laura, you know, you have to be good as a mother, you have to be healthy, you have to be well in a great mindset to be great for the children and to be great for your business. So it’s constantly realigning. And I’m trying to always be true to myself as I feel the success of anything is really being true to yourself and being driven by what you really believe. And specifically, at this moment in time, I don’t feel I can be in clinic looking after or treating patients, caring for patients and, you know, not being there for the children. That’s cool. So this is right for me now. So I’m trying to create my.
[00:21:48] Optimal mean in my experience. You’ll look back on this time and you’ll you’ll only realise how, how significant the things you are doing are later. You know, once you’ve been around a little while, you suddenly realise that at that point, you know, you’re doing something now it’s kind of uncharted territory you’re going to look back on this time in six, seven years time and think, Thank goodness I did that. Then, you know, in retrospect it all ends up being a lot more significant when you’re doing it. There are so many unknowns that you sometimes feel like, you know, you’re not doing the right thing. And women, particularly, I’ve noticed, are really hard on themselves in this respect. You know, want to be perfect. Don’t be too perfect for everything. A perfect mum, perfect. This perfect, that perfect. You know, we’re not perfect.
[00:22:36] No, it’s totally. And do you know what I’ve learnt recently. You’ve got to give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself.
[00:22:42] Yeah. Well all of that stuff, all of that self-care stuff. Super important. Super important. Tell me about Dubai, because you were living and working out there for a while. How did that come about?
[00:22:53] Ten years I was there. Yeah. And that was a real journey. It was hard because I, I have to say, when I started working with James in Berlin, I would never have left that clinic, ever. But this opportunity came up. I moved to Dubai, I got a job out there and it was with an English guy. He opened up a practice and he actually knew somebody that my mum used to work with that was in Max fax at the Queen Vic. So yeah, it was a similar world. Yeah, I was working there for a while and not that much. And then I had a few gaps in work and and then I did find an excellent practice eventually to work.
[00:23:44] In the one with.
[00:23:46] Doctors and nurses.
[00:23:47] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Very media orientated.
[00:23:50] Yeah. And it.
[00:23:51] Suited you. Yeah.
[00:23:52] I really enjoyed it. He gave me the free run to create oral health promotional projects. I started working. This is where my work really began working with industry, where I worked with Philips. I created this program for schools with animal therapy, with an animal therapist from an autism conference. I went to it. It was really different. It really went down a treat in the schools. The children love the little show we put on to support our health there. So he was David Rhodes was very supportive of everything that I did. I started some seminars within the clinic, so I ran those of an evening and then I started being invited to lecture and tour, all.
[00:24:39] Kicked off in Dubai. Really, all of this stuff?
[00:24:42] Well, yeah. I mean, I was how many years into my career before leaving the UK, maybe three years into my career. So I was young. So, you.
[00:24:53] Know, I don’t really.
[00:24:55] Yeah. So then I built that in Dubai and in this time there was no one, nobody recognised dental hygienist. So we weren’t allowed to have really group organisation meetings there. There was no so we used to like have little meetups but there was a bit of I guess they frowned upon. It was limiting to create an organisation. But until I went to the government and well the Emirates Dental Hygiene, Emirates Dental or Emirates Medical Association or something like that under the government. And we said to them, look, you know, we need to set something up for hygienists. So then it was a process. It honestly took me nearly ten years working with colleagues there to get papers to convince me.
[00:25:44] Red tape’s a nightmare.
[00:25:45] There is so much red tape. And speaking to officials there and getting to speak to these officials is so challenging.
[00:25:52] They turn up.
[00:25:54] You know.
[00:25:56] I’ve had a few meetings like that in Dubai. The meetings the guy didn’t turn up to. But what about living and working in Dubai as a general? I mean, would you say it’s nice to go for a holiday? Right. What’s it like living there?
[00:26:10] I mean, I had a great time.
[00:26:12] Did you stay there during the August and all that? The killer.
[00:26:16] I used to travel back to the UK a lot. Pretty much because I was working six days a week and then I would have nearly two weeks off.
[00:26:27] Okay, so.
[00:26:28] That’s how I worked my time. So I was in and out.
[00:26:31] In the UK every six.
[00:26:32] Weeks. Not the UK, but I’d come back somewhere or go somewhere. It was great.
[00:26:37] Jenny Pinder So going back to applying for medicine, which is what you wanted to do, I guess rebel against the dentists in your family, the reason that you didn’t get in is probably because they had quotas back in the day. Is that the first time you kind of felt like you were discriminated against as a woman?
[00:26:57] Yes, I think it was. They had quotas because they could. It was not until the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act was passed that that it all changed. And, of course, now we’ve swung over probably to these slightly more women applicants for either medicine or dentistry as well. Then again, the second thing I found I was being discriminated against was I applied for when I went to work, I applied for permanent health insurance to cover me if I was off sick. Yeah. And I did it through Dentists Provident. And I discovered that to take on a sort of extra thing was through Friends Provident Life. And for that I was had to pay a premium of 75% more than men for being female.
[00:27:46] And was that standard practice back then? Yes. Women would pay more. And what was the reason for that?
[00:27:51] As I said, women were sicker more often. It didn’t cover pregnancy, didn’t cover anything like that. And I thought, well, this isn’t right. And for me, if I think something is is not right, I will stick at it and pursue it. So ultimately, I went to the Equal Opportunities Commission as it was then and said, what about this? So they agreed to fund the case. So we took the case to the court and actually we lost. We lost then. But, but, but little bit later on, things did change.
[00:28:32] So what was it about? I mean, I’m sure there were many women in your position who probably thought, okay, it’s a higher premium, it is what it is. And then you come along and say, I’m taking this to court. Sunshine, what is it about you that made you just sort of think that actually I’m going to make a difference and I’m going to, you know, I’m going to stand up for women.
[00:28:53] Well, there’s something within me that stands up for anybody or anything that I think is injust.
[00:28:58] Where do you think that comes from, Jenny?
[00:29:01] My grandma. My grandma, who had 11 children of whom? Of the four of the six brothers, she was determined that my grandfather was going to get on. And she was determined.
[00:29:17] I think that women should have a voice. I think that women should be empowered. But I don’t actually think separating men from women on any platforms is the way forward, because I think it’s all about diversity, inclusivity, and not about separation. Now, my two business partners are male. I work with males all the time. I get on with them. I have never felt intimidated or disempowered by men. So actually I don’t think that this whole wave, which kind of tries to display men as being the enemy and suppressing women is something that I relate to. And I think it’s all about integration, to be honest.
[00:30:01] Do you think it’s harder to be a woman than a man?
[00:30:03] Yeah, for sure.
[00:30:04] I mean.
[00:30:05] Yeah, for sure.
[00:30:06] Well, if that’s true, then, then there’s nothing wrong with empowering, you know? I mean.
[00:30:10] Yeah, but I think.
[00:30:11] No, but the thing is, it’s harder to be a woman than the man.
[00:30:13] I mean, for me personally, somebody that’s built their profile and career and has lots of dreams and aspirations that I want to fulfil, I’m also very much aware of the biological clock, for.
[00:30:22] Example, that I get that somebody outside of that, outside of that. Of course. Of course, having a kid. And but outside of that, I mean, you haven’t got a kid yet.
[00:30:30] No. Okay. My father keeps reminding me.
[00:30:34] So. So in your journey from, you know, from zero to now. Yeah. Do you think it’s harder to be a woman than a man?
[00:30:40] Yeah, for sure. I mean, I. I think that there has been elements of in my industry which I’m not going to go into in detail. There have been elements of also, like I’ve sometimes certain men have wanted to help and then it turns out they actually wanted to try and get physical. And then you’d go, No, no, no. This is like a purely business thing. And I’ve experienced some of that, and then they lose interest and trying to help you. So I think there’s definitely a little bit of that Harvey Weinstein culture that still goes on in every industry. But having said that, I think that if you assert yourself in a certain way, you can get the respect from both sexes, to be perfectly honest with you. And the reason why I say that is because I did assert myself and behaved in a certain way that gained respect. And I think women for some reason don’t feel like they have a voice. They don’t have the confidence to speak out. It’s not the men are saying you can’t speak out. It’s because they just don’t have that maybe that ego like men do. And I think that’s a problem with women. And trust me, more women have said negative things about me online behind my back and so forth than men. And I think that says a lot because I think that’s think that’s insecurity is projected. Does that make sense? You know.
[00:31:58] If you were born a bloke, would you be more successful?
[00:32:00] If I was born a bloke, would I be more successful? No, but I definitely I’d have no idea how to answer that question, but I definitely think that I would nail being a bloke. You know.
[00:32:10] It’s a strange question. Realism is a strange question.
[00:32:13] No, I understand what he’s saying.
[00:32:15] It relates to your question about.
[00:32:17] Yeah, I mean, it’s a strange one to answer, but.
[00:32:19] Yeah, but I mean.
[00:32:20] But tell me about these terrible things that these women have done to you. Are we talking trolling?
[00:32:25] And yeah, I think that so for example, I’ll hear from some of my peers that certain female dentists, for example, that have never met me, will say things about my persona or about my clinical work. And I find it very strange because I’ve never even met them. Safina Ahmet So the thing with me is I get the most work done that night still. I’m still nocturnal.
[00:32:53] And managers will get emails at 3.
[00:32:56] A.m. and this and that. And, you know, people commonly get the majority of the emails. And when I really get that sit down time, when my kids are gone to bed and I can concentrate on the real kind of things, where I have to think happened when the kids were.
[00:33:08] Asleep, you just can’t.
[00:33:09] And and the other thing is like one thing I think that’s happened from COVID.
[00:33:14] Which is.
[00:33:15] A positive from a really obviously a dark time for us is this whole working with kids in the background. Like I always.
[00:33:23] Work with kids in the background.
[00:33:24] My managers know I have serious conversations with a two year old jumping on me and everyone has to accept that I have a family and that’s my reality. So all my managers know, all my staff know that. And even when sometimes when I do my webinars or my dentist or with kids, they’ll come in and they’ll talk and they’re, you know, and I think I’m very unashamedly a mum. Like, I don’t have to be ashamed about being a mum and having my kids out there. I don’t hide that. And I do really. And I’ll take my babies to like clinic. And I remember, you know, having a serious meeting with one of the builders and having my two year old with me. And, you know.
[00:33:57] Those are.
[00:33:58] My realities and I will complete and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed or I don’t feel that women should be embarrassed. Even dads should be embarrassed about.
[00:34:04] Things like that. So I think that is really.
[00:34:09] Really important to me as well.
[00:34:10] Well, how much how much sleep are you getting? How much? What time to get to bed to wake up.
[00:34:13] I don’t sleep. I’m not slept for months. Honestly, honestly. Because my two old I go to bed late and then my two year.
[00:34:21] Old is like, why do I can dive bombs on me? And you.
[00:34:24] Know, that’s it. I have to wake up and I nap.
[00:34:27] When I can and yeah, that’s that’s.
[00:34:30] It really.
[00:34:32] So going back to my question about trading in your business, certainly one of the things that I find is that with me working from home quite a bit more so obviously over the last ten, 12 weeks, there’s certain moments in time where my head is in the workspace and my three year old just wants a daddy. And so she’s having a conversation with me. I’m kind of having a conversation with her. I’m sort of trying to keep my head in work. And is that being in the room with one or the other? Do you have to struggle with that?
[00:35:04] Absolutely. Definitely. I mean, you know, my two year.
[00:35:06] Old does.
[00:35:07] He picks a laptop and takes it off.
[00:35:09] My off me.
[00:35:10] And then your heart just think like, you know.
[00:35:14] You shouldn’t feel so bad about it. Look, look, look, look what you learned from your dad. Yeah, and look, when that three year old becomes a 23 year old, he’s going to say, I sat there and my mom looked after me while she built this empire. And what he’s learning by looking at you, doing what you’re doing is amazing itself. It doesn’t have to be either. All you know, like my kids know more about Enlightened than my kids. York Victoria. Holden So one of the arrangements, I mean, what, what’s your typical week like? How many days do you work?
[00:35:48] So I’ll be at the practice four days a week. And the way that the hours are structured is that I sort of have a little bit of time doing my clinical stuff in the morning. I have a big window in the middle of the day for dealing with work that I’ll be doing to tell a defensive says See patient scan in the afternoon and then pick up the kids. So the kids are quite lucky. They go to a nice schools private school. I can drop them off on the just down the road. They get a mini bus to school about 7:30 and then I pick them up at 5:30. So I mean, the biggest issue I think when you’re a working mum is childcare. So that sort of system, you know, I’m not particularly one of those people go on or my children must go to private school to get the best education. It is really something that’s driven out of a need for childcare because it’s quite difficult actually getting wraparound care when your children are at school. Yeah, and I also wanted to be person who drops the kids off at school. I want to pick them up from school. I don’t want to have to rely on on nannies. So I live quite close to the practice. That’s great. I’ve always got the job working with services where I literally just need my computer and a phone to do that. So those things sort of all fit in quite nicely, really. I limit the time that I spend on social media to about 15 to 20 minutes a day. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook for various reasons, so that part of it doesn’t take an awful lot of time.
[00:37:16] Really let you moderate that forum in 15 minutes a day.
[00:37:20] Yeah, well, I say that it’s not maybe a very well moderated forum. One of the criticisms that comes up with that’s maybe the reason why. But yeah, I mean, I’ve done a lot of moderating since about ten years ago, Toni Jacobs asked me to help moderate the GPC forum, so I’ve been involved in that for quite a while actually, and I think generally people behave okay on the forums. There’s not that much stuff that needs moderated. You might get a notification pops up that somebody is offended by a post or there’s something that’s inappropriate. Somebody that’s self promoting their own course is a bit too much or you know, whitening is being promoted and unfair, etc. And we tend to deal with those and then and then move on. Really. Yeah, it doesn’t it doesn’t take a lot of time. I’m not really one to sit in on Facebook scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through the threads. I’ll go on and have a quick look, see if anything’s been flagged up on the forums and then off.
[00:38:20] Do you think that being a woman in dentistry is more.
[00:38:25] Difficult being a mum?
[00:38:28] You know, no, I don’t think it does actually. I think dentistry is quite a good career choice if you run, because the main reason is that you get the option to work. Normal hours is a very sort of 9 to 5 job and then you might be doing a bit of admin or treatment planning or courses outside of working hours. It’s not as difficult as. You know, if you’re like a barista or something and you’ve got long hours in London or in court or a doctor where you have to work shift patterns, I think those things could be really difficult, but I think dentistry is it does lend itself quite well actually to being a working mum as long as it can get the childcare issues sorted out around school. Obviously we’re quite lucky in a situation that we can pace, put our kids into school. That helps with that. That might be a bit of a challenge for some, some people, I’m sure. And there’s been times actually in the past where before I moved the children to that school and they were in the village school I was having because we didn’t have any childcare, I was literally having to condense my working days into 9 to 2 so that I’d be the one that was having to pick them up. And that was where, you know, this is just ridiculous. You know, I’m having to do this. My my own staff managed to kind of arrange the childcare. I’m struggling with it, but it’s it’s just living in a little village out in the middle of nowhere. You know, there’s not an awful lot of childcare around really.
[00:39:53] This question of women in dentistry coming up quite.
[00:39:56] A lot recently. Yeah.
[00:39:59] I’ve noticed when when it comes up you look kind of vocal on the kind of the opposite side of the the argument saying look, I’ve never had any problems as a woman. I think what you just said, you know, that you think that it’s a good career for women, all that. Why do you think is a thing that’s coming up now and where do you think there are the disparities? I mean, certainly I can see it myself. There aren’t enough women lecturers. But do you think the way to handle that is to positively discriminate, or are you one of those who says that’s definitely an owner?
[00:40:34] Who would you know, I think this topic it’s so complex. Yeah. And I don’t profess to know enough about things really to maybe give the right view on this. But from my point of view, you know, I, I want to be able to be in a position to see my kids grow up. I don’t want to give over my whole life to some of the things that happened in dentistry. And I know you’re probably referring to sort of conversation as to why there are no females on the executive board, the BPD. It’s that is something I know that that they tried very hard actually to positively engage women into those roles. And I was asked, I said, look, no, I haven’t got time for this. You know, I didn’t want to do it for purely from putting the brakes on how many things I’ve got going on in my life. You know, there has to be a line drawn somewhere is the amount of time that you give up. And these things can be quite time consuming. I mean, I personally have never felt discriminated against as a woman. I felt as I’ve been able to do everything that I’ve wanted to do in terms of my career. But I do think women are under-represented in a lot of ways in dentistry, and that’s the question I think that needs to be asked is like, why aren’t more women putting themselves forward rather than looking at it from the point of view of saying, Well, these men are pushy, they just take over all these roles? I don’t think that is the case.
[00:42:00] I think a lot of men do want women to be more engaged and we need to look at the reasons why they can’t. And it might be, you know, same as me as go. No, I don’t want to spend my whole evening working on committees or preparing lectures. There’s a lot of work that has to go into preparing lectures. I want to be able to work hard. I enjoy being a dentist, you know. I really do enjoy the day job, so I’m not necessarily looking for ways to cut down my clinical time to be able to maybe do more lecturing. You know, I’m I’m pretty sort of happy with the setup that I’ve got. And it might be that that’s the case for a lot of women who maybe feel the same. I don’t know. It’s something that we don’t really talk about very much, and it often seems to descend into an argument, whereas there needs to be a bit more of a constructive discussion about it. Yeah.
[00:42:50] I agree with that. I do agree with that.
[00:42:54] I think.
[00:42:55] I think.
[00:42:55] Experience but also.
[00:42:58] Confidence having that confidence to just go for it. I mean, and just determination. I mean, when you look at Cornell’s life, he could have had it really easy in a way. You didn’t really need to graft as hard as he has even sounds crazy to just say, but having Keira so young, I could have just got a council house, right? We live in the UK. That’s what it could have been. But we’re two very, very determined people and we just want to bring out the better in every single one of our individuals that come through our clinic, whether it’s training the staff, but also for the patients as well. We want them to be the best versions that they can be. And I think if you read our reviews, everything comes down to the experience and the friendliness and friendliness, believe it or not, does come down to confidence in a way, because if you’re not confident, it’s very hard to become come across this. Friendly because if you’re shy, you can come across as very rude without realising completely unintentionally. So to have that friendly manner, that confidence, to be able to talk to people, the confidence to be able to speak about enlightened in depth, speak about Invisalign in depth. We train them in every aspect, isn’t it? But with that confidence that brings the experience. Uchenna Okoya So I think we have a profession where the majority know, even if you saw even that, my time in dentistry is 50% women. Now it’s probably more women are the key elements that’s going to keep things going. But you don’t see women up there on the podium. But you’re one of the few people that when I did a couple of things with you and it tends to be more you tend to have a few women’s matches in there, but a lot of times the women aren’t there. But I don’t think it’s necessarily because it’s just like not being aware. It’s like the Black Lives Matter thing. It’s not even.
[00:45:03] Listen, I’ve been. It’s been levelled at me. I think Bertie was the one who said it to me. We had a conference, the minimalist. I spoke, perhaps spoke. And there was nine speakers, and there was only one woman amongst them. And I hadn’t really thought about it. You know, I wasn’t really thinking about that question. And Bertie said to me, You should have had half and half. And I thought I felt a bit difficult, you know, because I wanted to make the best conference I could make. And I was thinking, I want someone from orthodontics. And it was minimally invasive, someone from orthodontics, someone from Crown and Bridge, someone from whitening marketing person. I’m thinking, who are the best people I know for it rather than trying to find a woman? So there’s that. But but the other thing is that I’ve discussed this before as well, is that if you really cared about women in dentistry, wouldn’t you look at nurses, hygienists, receptionists? They get a really rough deal in dentistry. Yeah, they’re the ones asking. Yeah, the fact that you you’re not seeing dentists on the podium. But that’s not the big issue about women in dentistry. The big issue about women in dentistry is that that group, the ones I said, the DSPs, are overwhelmingly women and their career prospects, what happens to them, the way they’re talked down to by their bosses, all of that stuff. That’s the real problem with women in dentistry.
[00:46:34] I know what you’re talking about, Mike.
[00:46:38] Don’t the hygienist for him see the way some hygienist is treated by their bosses?
[00:46:43] Yeah, but but that’s just I think it has to start from the top because part of the thing of having more women like on the podium, one is that from an inspiring perspective. But two, to reflect the reality of the profession, you know, even within dentistry, dental school. So I mean it’s a slightly off the cuff relevance this but I had I had this fall out with quite a well known journalist from a national magazine where we were talking about. I was like flicking through the magazine one day, stick with me that was relevant to this. And I was just like suddenly. So nobody in this magazine that looks like me, like, like I get this magazine all the time and I love it and I love the articles and all the rest of it. I’m like, and I just thought, flick through the whole thing. Where am I? And they were like about two adverts or something that had somebody with colour. And so I knew her and she was like, About midnight, I must have been quite grumpy or something. So I sent her an email, a message on like, and she replied, and so we got into this altercation. I mean, we’re friends where she was like, I can’t believe you’re trying to say that I’m racist. You know, I’m like, I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying I’m going through your magazine. I can’t stand anybody that looks like me.
[00:48:04] What was it, fashion magazine or something?
[00:48:06] It was like a Sunday magazine type thing, you know, like style sell or whatever. And so she was so affronted that she went to all the trouble of getting all the magazines, sending me a PowerPoint of all the things that had pictures or articles of people. Of that people. And so I smiled. I’m like, Yeah, there’s Beyonce’s here, there’s Will Smith. That’s what I’m like, That’s so great. But I’m talking about people like me. I’m talking about doctors, dentists. And then that particular week, it was interesting that there was a feature about lipsticks and they put lipsticks on. It was like a whole page of different lips and there was not a single black brown lip there. It was just nothing. So I’m like, It’s about this. It’s about the fact that nobody has thought about this, that I’m not represented. I know that you’re all wonderful or whatever. You’re just going for that which you know and that which you’re around. So you obviously don’t hang around with enough fabulous women that when you put on your lecture, they didn’t even occur to you. Or maybe if you hung around them more, you’d know it was more of an issue. And you like.
[00:49:23] I do get it. I’m not rejecting it outright. I do get.
[00:49:26] You. Do I know? You’re right. That’s why I love you.
[00:49:29] I do get it. But what I’m saying is that, you know, I couldn’t find the best people. That was. That was my problem.
[00:49:36] That’s a load of rubbish.
[00:49:38] No, sorry. No, no. I didn’t engage even the best men. Yeah.
[00:49:43] No, you didn’t look hard enough.
[00:49:45] I look, I know.
[00:49:47] You just went to your buddies that you knew. Hey, can you like, you know, the guys that you hang out with, all the rest of that of, you know, and this happens so, so many times. And I will. No, I won’t. So go.
[00:50:03] Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead. We’ll cut it out.
[00:50:06] On I will go there with for example you did ask me before about BA and they’re doing analysis and I’m not going to go into it, but that’s a classic one of what you just said. So this group of great guys who I know, most of them like nobody, you know that picture, that picture where there was all these men that they’d had their conference when the organisation first set up. And I’m just like, there is not one single woman there and none of them saw that like and then you ask like what the hell happened is like, yeah, you know, we’re all buddies, we all hang out together and some of us just thought, Hey guys. And we just happened to have this conference call and nobody there was thinking about it at all. So that’s why the conversation needs to be had, because if you have a, you know, it’s scientifically proven that an organisation that’s got that diversity is so much better, it’s so much more effective. It just functions better than just people that old. Yeah. Anyway, so that’s all I’m going to say about that. So that’s why and even when you’re talking about the thing about some DSPs or hygienists or whatever, it’s again having the women there that will bring their problems to the front to the first. So that’s big. So I benefits Facebook what’s her name the the woman that’s always gone.
[00:51:44] The woman that what. Oh what’s her name? The woman the what? What does she do? I’ll tell, you know.
[00:51:49] Isn’t it? She won. The CEO is the Facebook now. It’s not Ariana.
[00:51:54] It’s the one that came from Google. Yeah.
[00:51:59] Anyway, I was looking about the fact that it wasn’t until she got she got pregnant that she suddenly realised that there was no parking, like she had to park for miles, to waddle to wherever she needed to be. And so she was it was something that affected her. None of the guys had thought about it. None of them had. It wasn’t there at all. And so that effected a change because she was there and she had.
[00:52:27] Sheryl Sandberg. Sheryl Sandberg. Thank you.
[00:52:34] This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one on one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts Payman, Langroudi and Prav. Solanki.
[00:52:50] Thanks for listening, guys. If you got this file, you must have listened to the whole thing and just a huge thank you both from me and pay for actually sticking through and listening to what we had to say and what our guest has had to say. Because I’m assuming you got some value out of it.
[00:53:05] If you did get some value out of it, think about subscribing. And if you would share this with a friend who you think might get some value out of it, too. Thank you so, so, so much for listening. Thanks.
[00:53:15] And don’t forget our six star rating.