Title

Student Voices: A Call for Equity in Representations of Gender in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Literature

1

Location

Studio 2

Start Time

20-10-2017 3:00 PM

End Time

20-10-2017 4:30 PM

Session Type

Forum

Abstract

Aims/Intent:

The intent of this forum is to critically examine representations of gender expression within occupational science (OS) and occupational therapy (OT) literature, frequently used within OT curricula, in response to students' call for social inclusion in learning about occupation. Our aim is to promote an understanding of gender expression among researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in order to better support clients with diverse gender expressions. First, we will share approaches for inclusive pedagogy and the importance of creating a learning environment of social inclusion.1 Next, we will present findings from a review of OS and OT literature examining representations of gender and how inequity in portrayal of gender prevents client-centeredness. Then, we will discuss disparities in the health and occupations of individuals with gender expressions outside the binary norm. Through these areas of discussion and by posing key questions, we aim to facilitate critical discourse about representations of gender expression within OS and OT.

Rationale:

Current feminist and social psychology theorists view gender as socially constructed and performed along a spectrum of expression.2, 3 This expression influences occupational opportunities and choices.4 Client-centered thinking values affirming identity; therefore, it is essential that practitioners give voice to client gender expression. Unfortunately, much of the available literature in OS and OT has treated gender at best as categorical and at worst as a determinant of behavior. Gender minorities experience disparities in everyday living due to the stressors of performing gender and the lack of societal acceptance of diverse gender expressions. Gender minorities are at higher risk of experiencing refusal of care, harassment, violence, and lack of practitioner knowledge when seeking health care, a reality that contributes to higher instances of avoidance of care and subsequent physical and mental health disparities. Similarly, lack of knowledge of the occupational needs and experiences of gender minorities contributes to occupational marginalization, deprivation, and alienation.5 Learning about the importance of gender inclusivity, and applying that knowledge to education, practice and research, is one way to help lessen these disparities.

Potential Outcomes:

OS can inform understanding of gender disparities and critical discussion can influence theory and research about occupation that may lead to a shift in understanding of diverse gender expressions. Outcomes of this forum include furthering collaborations among OS and other disciplines to move forward research and practice that reflects the evolving understanding of gender expression in contemporary society.

Questions/Objectives for Discussion:

  1. What is the current state of representing gender expression in occupational science and occupational therapy literature? What factors (theory, research methods) may limit inclusion of diverse gender representations?
  2. What opportunities exist for research and literature within occupational science to inform gender inclusivity in society, and particularly among health care providers? What knowledge, skills, and values are needed to foster true social inclusion in client-centered practice?
  3. How does the current level of societal understanding of diverse gender expressions influence occupational performance for this population?
  4. What opportunities exist for occupational science to contribute to intentional, inclusive pedagogy in occupational therapy education? What pedagogical approaches and learning activities are well suited for fostering social inclusion in education and practice?
  5. How can students play a role in advocating for inclusion of diverse gender expressions in occupational therapy education?

Key words: gender expression, occupation, pedagogy

References

References:

1. Goodman, D. J. (2011). Promoting diversity and social justice: Educating people from privileged groups. New York: Routledge.

2. Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. New York: Routledge.

3. West, C., & Zimmerman, D. H. (1987). Doing gender. Gender and Society, 1(2), 125–151.

4. Angell, A. M. (2012). Occupation-centered analysis of social difference: Contributions to a socially responsive occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 21(2), 104–116.

5. Beagan, B., De Souza, L., Godbout, C., Hamilton, L., Macleod, J., Paynter, E., & Tobin, A. (2012). ‘This is the biggest thing you’ll ever do in your life:’ Exploring the occupations of transgendered people. Journal of Occupational Science, 19(3), 226-240.

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Oct 20th, 3:00 PM Oct 20th, 4:30 PM

Student Voices: A Call for Equity in Representations of Gender in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Literature

Studio 2

Aims/Intent:

The intent of this forum is to critically examine representations of gender expression within occupational science (OS) and occupational therapy (OT) literature, frequently used within OT curricula, in response to students' call for social inclusion in learning about occupation. Our aim is to promote an understanding of gender expression among researchers, educators, students, and practitioners in order to better support clients with diverse gender expressions. First, we will share approaches for inclusive pedagogy and the importance of creating a learning environment of social inclusion.1 Next, we will present findings from a review of OS and OT literature examining representations of gender and how inequity in portrayal of gender prevents client-centeredness. Then, we will discuss disparities in the health and occupations of individuals with gender expressions outside the binary norm. Through these areas of discussion and by posing key questions, we aim to facilitate critical discourse about representations of gender expression within OS and OT.

Rationale:

Current feminist and social psychology theorists view gender as socially constructed and performed along a spectrum of expression.2, 3 This expression influences occupational opportunities and choices.4 Client-centered thinking values affirming identity; therefore, it is essential that practitioners give voice to client gender expression. Unfortunately, much of the available literature in OS and OT has treated gender at best as categorical and at worst as a determinant of behavior. Gender minorities experience disparities in everyday living due to the stressors of performing gender and the lack of societal acceptance of diverse gender expressions. Gender minorities are at higher risk of experiencing refusal of care, harassment, violence, and lack of practitioner knowledge when seeking health care, a reality that contributes to higher instances of avoidance of care and subsequent physical and mental health disparities. Similarly, lack of knowledge of the occupational needs and experiences of gender minorities contributes to occupational marginalization, deprivation, and alienation.5 Learning about the importance of gender inclusivity, and applying that knowledge to education, practice and research, is one way to help lessen these disparities.

Potential Outcomes:

OS can inform understanding of gender disparities and critical discussion can influence theory and research about occupation that may lead to a shift in understanding of diverse gender expressions. Outcomes of this forum include furthering collaborations among OS and other disciplines to move forward research and practice that reflects the evolving understanding of gender expression in contemporary society.

Questions/Objectives for Discussion:

  1. What is the current state of representing gender expression in occupational science and occupational therapy literature? What factors (theory, research methods) may limit inclusion of diverse gender representations?
  2. What opportunities exist for research and literature within occupational science to inform gender inclusivity in society, and particularly among health care providers? What knowledge, skills, and values are needed to foster true social inclusion in client-centered practice?
  3. How does the current level of societal understanding of diverse gender expressions influence occupational performance for this population?
  4. What opportunities exist for occupational science to contribute to intentional, inclusive pedagogy in occupational therapy education? What pedagogical approaches and learning activities are well suited for fostering social inclusion in education and practice?
  5. How can students play a role in advocating for inclusion of diverse gender expressions in occupational therapy education?

Key words: gender expression, occupation, pedagogy