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Women in Dentistry: How Lucy Hobbs Taylor Advanced Gender Equality

Women in dentistry

Women have proven time and again that no job in the world is too difficult for them and debunked similar stereotypical notions about gender. Even in the field of medical science, more specifically, in the dentistry community, females have established themselves as a significant inclusion, providing treatment at par with their male counterparts. This statement applies to many situations, whether it be surgical or cosmetic, even inspiring methods like the techniques for teeth whitening at home just by using a simple teeth whitening kit. When looking back on women in dentistry, it took the sheer determination and passion of Dr. Lucy Hobbs Taylor (1833-1910) to push women to the equal. To honor her, let’s share about this important academic figure.

Formation of the American Association of Women Dentists

Back in 1892, Dr. Mary Haviland Stillwell Kuesel founded the Women’s Dental Association in the US, which kept its existence until 1898. Then, in 1921, twelve bright minds met in Milwaukee while attending the meeting held annually by the National Dentist Association. It was there that they proposed forming the Federation of American Women Dentists.

It was this organization that kept moving from one pillar of strength to another, mentoring several female dentists along the way and continuing to function as the American Association of Women Dentists or AAWD. Lucy Hobbs Taylor was significant member of this organization.

Now, every year, in her honor, the AAWD awards outstanding women dentists the Lucy Hobbs Taylor award. The organization now has over 1200 strong members.

Photo: Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Lucy Hobbs Taylor – Encouraging Change for Women in Dentistry

Lucy Hobbs Taylor was born on the 14th of March, 1933, in New York. She is one of the first women to receive a doctorate in Dental Surgery, and inspired many to follow her path. Initially, she worked as a school teacher in Michigan, but her interest in medical science and meeting a physician with similar inspiration made her move to Ohio in 1959.

It was there that she applied to the Eclectic School of Medicine. However, being a woman, she was denied admission and given the suggestion to pursue dentistry instead.

She then applied in the Ohio school of Dentistry, but she was refused there as well. A second refusal in her career, all based on her gender!

It was not until a fresh graduate decided to teach her that her career got its long-overdue wings. From there, she decided to open her own practice in 1861. The institution lifted the ban on women eventually and admitted her due to her experience in 1865.

Only a year later, Lucy Hobbs Taylor was presented with her diploma, a huge achievement as she was the first female to graduate from dental school. In 1867, she then opened a practice together with husband James Myrtle Taylor in Chicago. It was through this practice that they could provide their services to the community.

The Lucy Hobbs Project

The significance of Lucy Hobbs Taylor in inspiring women in dentistry is commemorated through the Lucy Hobbs project. This annual event brings together female dentists to celebrate their successes and exemplary contribution to their field.

There are a number of philanthropic contributions, presentations about the latest achievements by women, and speeches that are immensely inspiring during the event. And those activities are befitting to Lucy’s life.

Conclusions on Women in Dentistry

The present scenario is very different from what it was before Lucy Hobbs Taylor as women continue to reach new heights and achieve landmarks in the field of dentistry. May women in dentistry and elsewhere continue to follow their dreams and achieve the pinnacle of success through their sheer determination and hard work. May gender not be a barrior.

Josh in action.

About Today’s Writer

Josh Elizetxe is the inventor and founder of Snow. He is an accomplished philanthropist and successful entrepreneur with several 8-figure exits.

His latest focus is on disrupting the $65 billion oral care market with revolutionary, patented products supercharged by celebrity partnerships.

5 thoughts on “Women in Dentistry: How Lucy Hobbs Taylor Advanced Gender Equality”

  1. theburningheart

    I do not live in LA anymore but used to have a woman dentist, after the a male dentist abandoned his practice at the clinic, and she took over, to my surprise her hand was lighter, and even more skilled than my previous dentist. She was my dentist there until I left LA. :-)

  2. petespringerauthor

    Been going to my female dentist, Dr. Peshka, for over twenty-five years. She’s the best! Feels silly that gender should be an issue in virtually any profession.

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