Women & Dentistry Reports:
A Global Dialogue
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Technology has transformed how we communicate with each other, and the marketplace is energized global competition. It is no surprise then that global health is a more acceptable term now than it was in the past. Issues surrounding health and disease transcend geographic boundaries and, as health professionals, we are responsible for exchanging and sharing our own knowledge and expertise with others around the world.
Unless we consider gender issues in all aspects of oral health, including health professionals' education, practice, use of services and products by the public, and all the associated research, we will miss real opportunities to advance the quality of overall leadership in oral health. Women, as leaders in many of these issues, can embrace these opportunities for finding new solutions.
As contact increases among dental educators, the understanding and appreciation of different approaches to teaching and learning increases as well. DentEd, a project supported by the European Union's (EU) Directorate for Education and Culture ( www.dented.org ), with more than 100 partners in Europe and links to the American Dental Education Association, was completed last September. A new 3-year thematic project, DentEd Evolves, has been approved by the EU, and includes a Global Congress on Dental Education. There is a challenge to think outside the box if we can open our eyes to the opportunity to compare and contrast experiences across cultures.
While leadership opportunities in dental education or research recognize no gender restrictions, this is a time for women's leadership styles to shine. Women more frequently display elements of negotiation, analytic listening, creating ambient environments, collaboration, and nurturing than men, yet it takes both genders to work together within our local or national contexts. There are many opportunities to raise gender issues on the global level and to explore and appreciate what we can learn from each other. If the momentum of sharing is primarily a feminine characteristic, it is also a great strength .
Sometimes we think that life is something that occurs outside ourselves, and that the future is something that occurs to us. Others think that the future is a time that never occurs. Every moment is an opportunity to decide what kind of life we choose. If we choose the first interpretation, we will have to cope with whatever the circumstances are. We will feel like victims of what is happening. If we choose the second interpretation, we can use everything that happens as a tool to achieve what we want. We can be the creators, the leaders of our own life. We can touch the lives of others and make a difference. Leaders declare a reality that doesn't exist, and make it happen. We create our life in language, through conversations that we live in, through conversations with others. That is the difference between surviving or living the life we have chosen: Living through a vision. That is the challenge of this millennium.
Leaders are not born. Leaders learn to BE.
"Rational people adapt themselves to the circumstances. Irrational people adapt circumstances to themselves. Progress depends on irrational people."
—George B. Shaw
- Man's Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
- A Brief History of Everything Ken Wilber
- Living Deliberately: The Discovery and Development of Avatar Harry Palmer
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