Dr Gina Irwin
From a young age, Dr Gina Irwin had positive dental experiences and looked up to her Uncle John Paterson and family friend Dr John Fisher who were both dentists. She noticed that they were kind, funny, successful, and enjoyed their lives. Although both were male, Gina never considered dentistry as a profession only men can be a part of. Instead, she thought women could do anything.
Gina currently works as a dentist at L&R Dental and is the Western Division Councillor for ADAQ. She was drawn to a career in dentistry because it allows you to improve people’s health, it has a good balance of hours and remuneration, and is full of opportunity.
Gina’s first female role models within the dental industry were her University of Queensland educators, Dr Jenny Smythe, Dr Barbara Woodhouse, and Dr Kaye Kendall. Since then, she has had many more; this includes friends and colleagues who have built successful businesses while raising families, such as Dr Cathy Findlay and Dr Georgia Sheehan, ADAQ President Dr Norah Ayad for her dedication, energy and passion, and Dr Joyce Perkins – the mother of the Chinchilla town dentist who was one of the courageous trailblazers of female dentistry.
Early in her career in South West Queensland, Gina worked mainly with male dentists. That was until years later when the practice employed younger female dentists. On a day-to-day basis, Gina doesn’t tend to focus on gender issues, as she knows that male and female dentists can be amazing and learn from each other to better the profession. Gina has noticed improvements in gender representation, however. Before joining the ADAQ Council two years ago, there were only four females out of 16. Now, there are seven. However, Gina says, that this still doesn’t accurately reflect the approximate 50/50 split of males and females in the workforce today.
Gina congratulates females stepping into the dental industry, saying “you are a trusted health care provider and you have worked extremely hard to get where you are now. Continue to work hard, gain experience, learn about people and business and you will find dentistry the career you’ve dreamed of – the unique combination of science, art and engineering. There will be challenges – it’s hard especially in the first few years – but anything worth having is worth working for. Don’t allow anyone to diminish the respect you have for yourself right now”.