BECOMING A MALE SPEECH AND LANGUAGE THERAPIST
University of Exeter (UNITED KINGDOM)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:To become a speech and language therapist in the UK, an individual must successfully complete either an undergraduate or post graduate pre-qualifying programme at a recognised institute of Higher Education.
Speech and Language therapy is predominately a female profession. Recent attempts to increase the number of male applicants to the profession appear to have had little impact. Consequently, a male student is likely to find this road to success complex and challenging, as he is likely to find himself the sole male in his cohort. This minority status is thought to lead to negative consequences, reduced motivation and feelings of isolation. (Boyd and Hewlett 2001)
Previous research has offered explanations for the lack of diversity in this and similar professions (Francis 2002, Greenwood et al 2006, McAllister and Neve 2005, Witt 2009). However, little research has been completed examining the experiences of these minority students, how they develop their professional identity within a predominately female profession and whether their gender identity is really an issue.
The research has listened to the voices of a number of these students and aims to present their experiences as they have successfully negotiated both their student and professional identities whilst constructing a congruent gender identity.
To date, the students have shared experiences relating to their difficulties integrating with the student population, dealing with discrimination and constructing their new professional identity within their gender. Yet, despite these difficulties, they have maintained a high level of motivation to complete their studies and become a speech and language therapist.
Keywords: Speech and language therapy, gender, identity.