As representative of a largely female dominated workforce of oral health professionals, the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA) is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. Ninety-six percent of dental hygienists in Canada are women (Canadian Institute of Health Information data, Demographic Trends, 2009) and together, with our male colleagues, they comprise the sixth largest registered health profession in Canada.
International Women’s Day is a time to commemorate the victories of women the world over. 2013 is a milestone year for 24,000 dental hygienists in Canada as we celebrate 100 years of the founding of the dental hygiene profession and 50 years of our national association, CDHA. Both the profession and the association were founded and have grown, largely through the steadfast commitment of a multitude of women from across Canada.
Dental hygienists are trained health professionals who work with people of all ages, helping them address issues related to oral health care. A dental hygienist’s goal is to help people learn and practise good oral hygiene and build the foundation for a healthy, happy smile for life.
CDHA whole heartedly supports the International Women’s Day theme, “Gender agenda: gaining momentum; a modern progressive world needs equality”. It’s a matter close to the heart of dental hygienists who are now legislated in many provinces to practise without the direct supervision of a dentist, but still struggle against a lack of public awareness that independent dental hygiene practices are viable alternatives for oral hygiene care.
CDHA president, Sandy Lawlor asserts, “Investing our members with the necessary support and resources to succeed professionally is one of our primary goals.” CDHA applauds and shares the spirit of the United Nations’ millennium development goal of empowering women. “Looking ahead, we will continue to promote the progress and expand and enhance opportunities for our growing professional community for the next 50 years,” says Sandy Lawlor.
CDHA actively supports and participates in women’s causes such as CIBC Run for the Cure to promote breast cancer research and awareness, recognition awards for individual initiatives in volunteerism and leadership among the dental hygiene community and promoting members’ activities that support oral health programs for women and children.
For more information on dental hygienists or oral health, visit www.cdha.ca.