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Occupational therapy gender imbalance; revisiting a lingering issue

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-26, 13:42 authored by Martin Karaba Bäckström, Andre Luiz Moura de Castro, Aaron M. Eakman, Moses N. Ikiugu, Nigel Gribble, Eric Asaba, Anders Kottorp, Olov Falkmer, Mona Eklund, Nils Erik Ness, Stefan Balogh, Patrick HynesPatrick Hynes, Torbjörn Falkmer

Background: Recently, it has been suggested that gender disparity in Occupational Therapy has to do with segregated gendered job norms that position female dominated professions as a ‘step down’ for many males. Interestingly, this suggestion was not underpinned by experiences of males in the profession.

Aims and Methods:  Thirteen male Occupational Therapists with a variety of backgrounds were invited to this Round Table research, focussing on the broader issue of the existing gender imbalance in Occupational Therapy.

Results:  Two themes emerged: ‘The core values of the profession’, and ‘Broadening the scope of the profession’; none of them suggesting that male/female imbalance was necessarily the most pressing issue.

Conclusions:  A gender-unrelated approach to everyday problem-solving was put forward to achieve increased diversity in Occupational Therapists’ backgrounds, better reflecting the people they serve. By broadening the scope and the way the profession is presented, and encouraging innovative and more entrepreneurially driven approaches, diversity in the workforce could be further facilitated. These findings are discussed within the context of ‘The mutual constitution of cultures and selves’ model.

Significance:  Diversity in the Occupational therapy workforce could be further facilitated with a shift in focus away from the male/female perspective to an intersectional approach.

History

Publication

Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy

Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Other Funding information

This study was funded by Lund University as part of a guest professorship for under-represented gender and led by Senior Professor Mona Eklund

Sustainable development goals

  • (5) Gender Equality
  • (10) Reduced Inequality

Department or School

  • Allied Health

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