March is Women’s History Month, so we thought this was a great chance to celebrate some of the pioneering women in dentistry. (Including, of course, all of the amazing women we have on our staff here at Schumacher & Bauer!)
Here are a few milestone stories of women in dentistry who helped make it the field it is today.
Josephine Serre was the first woman to receive a degree in dentistry in 1814 in Estonia. She helped inspire more women to consider the dental field as a career option.
Emeline Roberts Jones was the first American woman to become a practicing dentist in 1855. She married a dentist and became interested in the field, but her husband was concerned that her “frail and clumsy fingers” would make dentistry a terrible field for women. She studied dentistry in secret, and after she clandestinely filled and extracted several hundred teeth, her husband allowed her to work on some of his patients.
Lucy Hobbs Taylor was the first woman to graduate from dental school. She graduated from the Ohio College of Dentistry in 1866 after she was initially denied admittance into the school due to her gender.
Ida Gray Nelson Rollins graduated from the University of Michigan College of Dentistry in 1890. She moved back to her hometown of Cincinnati to open her dental practice, which made her the first Black female dentist in the United States.
As of 2020, only about 1/3 of practicing dentists were female. But that number is rising nationwide as more women attend dental school. Today roughly half of dental school graduates are women, which is a giant increase compared to just 1% of dental school graduates in 1968.
Women make up 60% of dentists under the age of 44, which means the number of women in dentistry will only continue to rise. As more women continue to become mentors and take on leadership roles within the field of dentistry, the disparities are likely to continue shrinking as dentistry becomes a more inclusive field for all.
We’re featuring stories and suggestions from the team members at Schumacher & Bauer, DDS in our new monthly blog series. You can view all posts in this series here.