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Trends Across the United States

Number of Women and Men Dentists Graduating from U.S. Dental Schools, 1866-1893

Number of Women and Men Dentists Graduating from U.S. Dental Schools, 1866-1893

 
It took a long time for women to become a consistent presence in dental schools. Although most schools took only one or two women each year, the number of schools accepting women increased significantly. There were a few holdouts. Harvard, the first university-based dental school founded in 1867, did not accept women until 1952. The University of Michigan graduated its first woman in 1880.

Source: Hannelore T. Loevy and Aletha A. Kowitz, “Dental education for women dentists in the United States: The beginnings.” Quintessence International, Vol. 30, No. 8, 1999.

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Number of Women and Men Dentists Graduating from U.S. Dental Schools 1866-1893.pdf
Number of Women and Men Dentists Graduating from U.S. Dental Schools, 1866-1893

Number and Percentage of Dentists by Sex, 1870-2010

Number and Percentage of Dentists by Sex, 1870-2010

 

 

The gradual rise in the number of women dentists suffered an unexpected decline beginning in the 1920s. A likely contributor was the introduction of dental hygiene programs in 1914, which experienced dramatic growth during the same period. As many more women chose dental hygiene, the number of women dentists remained relatively low for 50 years.

The feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s encouraged women to rethink their futures. No longer willing to be discouraged from seeking careers on equal terms with men, women seized the opportunity to enter all professions. Today, about half of graduating dentists are women.

Source: United States Census Reports

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Number and Percentage of Dentists by Sex 1870-2010.pdf
Number and Percentage of Dentists by Sex 1870-2010