Professionalization, Gender and Female-dominated Professions: Dental Hygiene in Ontario

Authors


  • *I would like to thank Terri Tomchick and Tamara Gillespie for their research assistance, and the anonymous reviewers for their advice on revising this paper. Thanks are also owed to the dentists and dental hygienists who spoke with me about their professions. Research for this paper was supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This manuscript was first submitted in March 2002 and accepted in January 2003.

Abstract

Cet article explore L'influence des rapports sociaux entre les sexes et du féminisme sur les professions à majorité féminine au moyen d'une étude de cas en hygiène dentaire en Ontario. Le statut professionnel à part entière a échappéà plusieurs de ces professions, y compris L'hygiène dentaire. Historiquement, cette dernière était définie comme un travail pour les femmes, àêtre exécuté sous la stricte surveillance des dentistes hommes. Récemment, L'hygiène dentaire a poursuivi un projet de reconnaissance professionnelle et lutté pour une plus grande indépendance à L'endroit de la dentisterie. Les idées issues des rapports sociaux entre les sexes et particulièrement du féminisme y ont occupé une place centrale.

This paper explores the influence of gender and feminism on the professional projects of female-dominated professions, through a case study of dental hygiene in Ontario. Full professional status has eluded many female-dominated professions, including dental hygiene. Historically, dental hygiene was defined as work for women, to be performed strictly under the control of male dentists. In recent years, dental hygiene has pursued a professional project and struggled for greater independence from dentistry. Ideas about gender and, particularly, feminism have been central to their professional project.

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