our last OTalk of 2019 is being hosted by Marcus Dean @MarcusD88167580 here is what he had to say,
This OTalk is about men as occupational therapists as well as the impact of gender on occupational therapy and the occupational therapy workforce. Although I am the only male OT student within my cohort, I believe there should be no reason why there isn’t more of an equal gender representation based on population in the profession. I am keen to attract more men to consider OT as a viable career option.
Discussions by prominent OT and AHP authors suggest that it is important to consider the effect of gender imbalance within the AHP professions on opportunities for client choice (Brown 1991 and Bohn et al. 2019), reduced availability of positive role models for clients (Ortiz 2018, Brown 1991 and Redman 1992) and for OT what could be seen as a waste of talent for a career that has major recruitment issues in some parts of the UK (RCOT 2017).
There are currently 3,155 male OTs in the UK, which equates to 7.9% of the total number of OT professionals (HCPC 2019). Whilst there are over a thousand more male OTs practicing than in 2005 (HCPC 2017), this is representative of a growing field rather than a growth in the number of men moving into the profession as the overall percentage of male OT’s in 2019 (7.9% HCPC 2019) shows no real change since 2005 (8.1% HCPC 2017). However, underrepresentation of men as occupational therapists must not be seen as a power dynamic issue as men are relatively overrepresented in OT management positions in comparison to the proportion of men in the general OT workforce (Beagan and Fredericks 2018 and Bohn et al. 2019).
This talk forms part of a sounding board prior to the commencement of an MSc dissertation entitled “Why do Men Become OTs?” This research aims via a survey to explore the reasoning behind why those men who chose OT have made this decision and to explore if there is a shared set of characteristics present that may have led these men to become occupational therapists. My main goal is to uncover insights from male OT’s that may be used to promote the profession to other men. Whilst I will not use any comments discussed here directly in my research, I am quite keen to be influenced by OT’s perceptions into the impact of gender representation in the OT workforce.
With this in mind please consider the following question:
- Why do you think that there are a significantly lower number of male occupational therapists in comparison to the number of female occupational therapists?
- Considering the small amount of men who are occupational therapist why do you think that some men become OT’s?
- Do you think that there are certain employment areas of occupational therapy that are more or less accessible to work in based on an OT’s gender?
- What do you think are the implications of a predominantly female OT workforce?
- What should be done, if anything, to try and encourage more men to become occupational therapists?