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Indiana Occupational Therapy Association

Women's History Month 2024

  • Wednesday, March 20, 2024 8:31 AM
    Message # 13332112

    As we celebrate Women’s History month, the IOTA DEI Committee felt it was important to recognize how our female-dominated profession fits into the male-dominated employment/leadership world. To start, it is important to recognize that the labor force participation rate for those aged 25-54 is 77.7% for women and 89.3% for men. Healthcare and Occupational Therapy are female-dominated professions with the workforce comprising of approximately 70% and 91% females respectively. However, women only account for 25% of leadership positions in healthcare. To drive some of these points home, let’s tell a story in bullet points:

    • 70% of the college enrollment rate is women 

    • More female college students work while in school compared to their male counterparts 

    • Out of all employed women, 51.8% work in management, professional, & related occupations 

    • More than 17x as many women as men work in jobs with poverty-level wages

    • Women make 82% of men’s earnings 

    • Women earn less in nearly all occupations, regardless of if the occupation is predominately female- or male-dominated

      • The more female-dominated an occupation becomes, the more it is devalued & the more its pay decreases 

    • More men will reach employee tenure than women 

    • When men enter female-dominated fields, they do not experience the discrimination that women tend to experience when entering male-dominated fields 

    • Men in female-dominated fields have more opportunities for advancement than women & are often paid more

    • “Men avoid feminized jobs because they pay less and hold less social status. They are a “step down” for men. In such jobs, men are disproportionately pushed into management positions, with better pay, more prestige, and less hands-on care. Equity issues concern structural barriers to success in particular employment fields. Though they may feel discomfort in a feminized field, men do not face structural barriers in occupational therapy.” (from “What about the Men?)

    • Women have an added pressure of succeeding in male-dominated fields due to feeling responsible for the advancement of their gender 

    • Gender stereotypes are still applied to people in women-dominated fields

    • The problem is not men; it is the view on women & women’s work

    • Women account for 69% of the leaders on OT Journal Executive Boards

    • This is not representative of the population in the OT workforce and impacts what kind of research is published and influences best practice

    While we love our profession and we women are killing it out there, the Interwoven Threads article wraps it up best: “Recommendations are made that occupational therapists commit more money and energy to encourage, facilitate, and support female leadership; develop innovative strategies for keeping members who take time out to raise families informed; support more holistic and feminist reorganization of work settings; instill awareness of these issues in our students; and address our strengths as a women's profession. All occupational therapists must also confront their own anti-women prejudice.”

    We’d love to know which fact above resonated with you the most or maybe which one you found the most interesting…and why! Let’s indulge in some fun conversation!

    Happy Women’s History Month!

    Your IOTA DEI Committee


indiana occupational therapy association

Since 1926, the Indiana Occupational Therapy Association has helped occupational therapists develop skills, connect with experts and ultimately provide better care to patients across the state.


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