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It is known that many health professions are dominated by females, particularly the allied health professions, such as speech and language therapy. This is more pronounced in the US than in the UK, Australia and other countries. The authors of this article highlight that there are stereotypes associated with the speech and language therapy profession that include a need to care - considered a more ‘female’ trait, whilst a more masculine profession involves ‘power’ and ‘control’. This article explores the experiences of 14 male speech and language therapists between the ages of 25 and 58, from geographical regions across the US. Individual semi-structured interviews explored the essences of their experiences to understand the beliefs, truths and judgments shared by the group. The phenomenological approach to analysis identified four superordinate themes of: 1. challenges; 2. movement towards inclusion; 3. increased recognition of maleness; and 4. maleness as a source of empowerment. Overall, the male speech and language therapists described some challenges but valued their professional roles and felt empowered by their gender. It seems important to consider here the diversity of the community served by speech and language therapists. There are many males, many diverse nationalities and ethnicities, and many more diverse communities who are served by the profession. Thus, it is important that we reflect these communities within our profession. Being stereotyped as a white, middle class female profession can establish therapeutic barriers. Being a diverse profession will break down barriers and improve the clinical effectiveness of the profession.

Providing a perspective that’s a little bit different: academic and professional experiences of male speech-language pathologists.
Azios JH, Bellon-Harn M.
2020; Early online:1-12.
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Anna Volkmer

UCL, London, UK.

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