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Education is the key factor to women empowerment; Dr Syeda Amna Azim

Dr Amna Azim is the first Dental and MBBS graduate in Pakistan, working as a smile spreader across Ireland, exploring better opportunities to support the minor groups.

-By Dr Alizey Shahid

Following her post-graduate experience, she moved to the UK for further studies to enhance her skills and capabilities in the field of surgery. After working as an SHO in London Maxiofacial units, she planned to move to Ireland to further her career as Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon (FDS OMOS) in Ireland. She believed, “To progress within a speciality, a person must be dually qualified; hence, the second degree is essential.”

This woman defined the true meaning of women empowerment in society and set a perfect example for women in dentistry.

Her journey to explore dentistry continued under the supervision of various prestigious and knowledgeable dental surgeons and professors. Spearing through the experience, assisting Dr MM Shakir with a Korean cleft lip and palate association was a turning point in her life. Counting thousands of people waiting for free facial repair made her realise that only a few out of them were lucky enough to obtain a treatment option due to limited resources. Hence, Dr Amna vowed to return one day to support and help maximum people with a facial deformity and trauma injury.

The balance between family and career

For Dr Amna, her mother is the best example of work-life balance. The way her mother managed her family’s responsibility and work were remarkable. However, Dr Amna emphasised that strong family support is key to manage your responsibilities and prioritise your duties.

“The major obstruction for your career path are others who oppose your ideas and career decisions; however, if you have full family support, then you can achieve anything.”

Dr Syeda Amna Azim

For Dr Amna, her role model to pursue this career path was her Khala. She was an army doctor, a strong-headed woman with high moral values and character. Her Khala felt, “Women education is the key factor to women empowerment especially in the field of dentistry.” Hence, her ideology intrigued Dr Amna to keep striving for better.

She is currently working as an OMFS and associated with a smile foundation that works to raise awareness for the minority groups deprived of good opportunities. The vision of the Smile Spreader platform was to support minority groups abroad and bring about a sense of belonging within the community. This way, she connected several minorities with the non-minorities communities and shared experiences to integrate well within the community to explore better opportunities.

Women abroad practising

Dr Amna reported, “Working abroad is different than your hometown. People expect you to have weekends off and proper timings; however, this is not that simple, especially for women. Very limited opportunities are presented for them in the light of racism and gender discrimination.” Hence, she believes though many opportunities are provided in the West but the immigrants arriving face a good share of troubles. To support and prevent discrimination, many applications are launched that assist physician with their specific concerns related to medicine and citizenship.”

Last message for all

“Everyone has a fair set of rejections, but those rejections should be taken as a way to motivate oneself and move forward with a positive thought that something better is destined for you. As for women, there is a special place in dentistry, which is achievable if they improve their communication skills for effective leadership and a better position in the field,” Dr Amna said.

The author is contributing writer at Dental News Pakistan and can be reached at

May 24, 2021

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