Patricia Miguez, DDS, MS, PhD, has been elected vice-president of the Women in Science Network (WISN), a scientific group of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) that aims to serve the need for promoting the professional interests, communication, research collaboration and career mentoring among – but not restricted to – female members.
“Having been involved with WISN since 2017, serving in the role of vice-president and then eventually president-elect and president is an incredible honor,” said Miguez. “As a group, we hope to continue expanding the dialogue on gender issues. Our goal is to help raise awareness to the barriers that remain and need to be addressed in order to increase women representation at all academic and industry levels but specially in leadership roles.”
It is known that although women representation in the workforce has increased over the last several decades, women do not have similar compensation and leadership opportunities as their male colleagues. The main barrier for female progress towards leadership roles is cited as family responsibilities, including caring for children or being the primary parent providing transportation to school, medical appointments and other activities. That implies that the conflict between family responsibilities and professional activities lead women to compromise the number of hours dedicated to their careers.
The WISN was created in 2011 after IADR leaders gathered available data and concluded women continue to face barriers to equal pay, tenure, grant success and national recognition across the oral health industry and academia. The WISN organizes workshops and symposiums at the American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research and IADR annual meetings to encourage discussion among all members of IADR on discrimination and bias in the work environment. The goal of such activities is to provide young faculty and students with mentorship in navigating their careers and to help them recognize issues along their path, and with their institutions, promote diversity and foster inclusion in their work environment.
“While there has certainly been progress towards equality with reported increase in women presence in education and research in Dentistry, there is still a lot of work to be done in ensuring the opportunities and the financial gains are equal among men and women,” said Miguez. “The best way to address those issues is to continue to engage everyone in the conversation about the level of inequity and explore ways to promote institutional accountability.”
Miguez will start her role as vice president at the conclusion of the 2022 IADR/APR Annual Meeting. Following the one-year term, she will become president-elect in 2023 and will serve as president of the scientific group starting in 2024.