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Gender mix in podiatry

Discussion in 'Break Room' started by Euan McGivern, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Euan McGivern

    Euan McGivern Active Member

    Members do not see these Ads. Sign Up.
    At the school of podiatry where I am training there is an interesting gender imbalance, my cohort of 47 includes only 8 males, with other years having a similar mix. My exposure to members of the profession (teaching staff, from conferences, etc.) seems to be a more even mix.

    I am wondering, is this experience representative of the profession as a whole, or just in the UK, or just at our school?

    My perception is; that as a profession podiatry doesn't have a gender stereotype (unlike medicine, dentistry,nursing, etc.) although I may be wrong

    I have come across nursing research which highlights concerns over the disparity of experience between male and female nurses. Nursing has a very strong gender stereotype which is still portrayed in the media, and many of the negativity may be a result of this.

    I certainly don't post this as a concern, I genuinely believe that gender has no basis on ability, I am just interested in the dynamic.

    What say you?
    Euan (one of the 8)
  2. Dido

    Dido Active Member

    Hello Euan,
    When I trained (over 30 years ago) there was an intake of 40 students in my first year of which 7 were male. Of them 4 were mature students. Of the females 5 were mature students.
    I suppose you could say that things haven't changed much, in this respect!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2008
  3. Euan McGivern

    Euan McGivern Active Member

    Thanks Dido,

    It is interesting to learn that things are much the same as they were.

    I think podiatry is a diverse and dynamic profession, and all the better for it.

  4. Euan

    There is a view that suggests one of the reasons that podiatry has not progressed as much as the other primary health professions - i.e. dentistry & medicine - in the last two decades is because the gender ratio is predominately female and hence, in many cases, podiatry is the second career within the household. Those who offer such an opinion forward the claim that females are less ambitious in driving the profession forward and are more likely to job share and take career breaks - for obvious reasons - which suits many employers such as the NHS.

    Not saying I agree with this opinion but if you compare the profession 40 or 50 years ago, where the gender ratio was reversed, then parity with the dental profession was a great deal closer than today!

  5. Trent Baker

    Trent Baker Active Member

    I'm interested in the fact that there seems to be a gender imbalance within the current learning institutes. I had an impression that there were more males undertaking the profession. I'm in private practice and I'm not sure if it's because I'm a male, but I very rarely have females apply for positions when they become available. In saying that, I have a female Pod working for me and she is fantastic. I stole her from the local high risk hospital clinic.

    I'm sure if we looked closely, we would find a greater percentage of male podiatrists in private practice, with a greater percentage of female Podiatrists in public health. The reason for this is simple, the money is better in private practice.

    As Mark pointed out, females often pursue careers that can supplement family life, while males pursue primary earning careers. I'm sure we will find more males pursuing a career in Podiatry with a particular emphasis on private practice, now it has been shown you can earn a decent dollar. It's unfortunate, but many many male high school students look at degrees that place them in a career with good earning potential. Podiatry is moving into that arena rapidly and the boys will follow.

  6. Euan McGivern

    Euan McGivern Active Member


    Interesting observation re: boys leaving school looking for well paid professions. I left school and immediately entered into an accounting degree, which I eventually found relatively unfulfilling, no disrespect to members of that profession.

    In my later years at school I would have never chosen podiatry as a career, ironically my Saturday job when at Uni the first time first exposed me to podiatry via footwear retail. I have now found something I feel passionate about in podiatry and will never look back. I'm not sure as a profession podiatry connects with potential students as well as it could, it would be a real waste to miss out on talented school leavers just because podiatry hadn't occurred to them.

    It's too early to tell if the future will see me heading in a NHS or PP route, or even a combination of both, I need to get through the 4 years first! The ability to build up my skills and even develop a specialty certainly appeal.

    Thanks for your input

  7. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    It is comparatively easy to find out the overall gender mix by checking the published podiatry statistics which are produced by a variety of agencies. You can have a look at universities and registration statistics.

    I recall doing this some years ago and found that gender mix preferred female to male everywhere except the US. I was interested in finding out about labour movement in the nhs at the time when Whitley Council was in operation. Most movement of podiatry staff in the UK went to demoted posts. On further investigation this appeared to be married women moving with their husband and family and the wife taking whatever job was available. Not the best career opportunity. Despite the high number of females in podiatry very few made it (then) to managereal positions. There were some but not a lot. I think maybe today that situation is not so gender specific (?). Certainly in UK podiatry education there are far more women now in executive positons than were thirty years ago. In Oz males still prevail in the top teaching jobs but the opportunity does exist to break through the glass ceiling.

    As to gender stereotypes, reference to podiatrists in fictional literature and movies etc. does prefer males to females. Usually the males figures of fun frquently protrayed as preoccupied with their fascination with feet/podiatry, rather boring individuals or complete villians. Females rarely appear in the first person and almost always are talked about usually in, a 'nudge nudge' way.
    Have a swizz at the orginal Alfie with Michael Cane.

    Employers who pursue a gender equity policy (who doesn't these days) will give preference to a candidate's gender where there is a justifed reason to do so. i.e. an imbalance in the staff gender mix where gender equity is considered essential. You see this a lot in teaching. This can be a source of frustration to unsuccessful candidates, who happen not to have these particular crudentials.

    This would beg the question what was the gender mix of staff at your university and was it representative?

    (This is not my opinion) and not to be PC for the moment, many critics believe positive discrimination has the potential to not always bring the most suitable applicant to the positon (other than gender). Some critics uphold positive discrimination policies weaken organisations.

  8. Euan McGivern

    Euan McGivern Active Member


    This is interesting, when I studied accounting I remember research which raised concerns over the portrayal of that profession in the media (almost always male and usually corrupt or incompetent) We were always taught of the "professionalisation project" of accounting in its existence as a 'young' profession. I can see some mirrors between the two professions, however they seem to have moved in quite different directions. (Of course they are two quite different professions) I'm not sure either are totally comfortable with where they have ended up?

    We have 3 females and 4 males teaching in our department at University with the two most senior positions occupied by men, not totally indicative of our discussion but perhaps supporting the idea that men occupy more of the managerial posts. I would imagine, however that academic staff would have a different dynamic to purely clinical, I'm sure I recall research on the 'masculinity' of academia, but can't quite get a recall the detail.

    Thanks for your views
  9. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    >We have 3 females and 4 males teaching in our department at University

    To get the fuller picture factor now on the gender of the teaching clinicians.


    Must get Mark to write a thriller with the hero a forensic accountant and foot health professional. I started training as a cost and works accountant before becoming a chiropodial artist. Between the two of us I am sure we would have enough to construct a reasonable character. Perhaps Johnny Depp or Scarlet Johansen could be the role models and if they pass the screen test play the part on screen.

    My favourite fictional podiatrist was a professional hitman and podiatrist. He closed his practice to complete his assassin assignments then went back into obscurity thus avoiding detection. THe character appeared in one of the earlier episodes of Law and Order.
  10. Trent Baker

    Trent Baker Active Member

    Podiatry is often used as an obscure profession in movies, I find that quite funny really. The problem is that often the gay guy in a movie is named Trent, which pretty much stuffs me from two angles.

    I'm not gay, but I am a Podiatrist, gees I'm really breaking down the stereotype now.

  11. Euan McGivern

    Euan McGivern Active Member


    Off the top of my head it's 5 male and 6 female (might not be strictly accurate, we've not seen them all yet) and again the head of department is male.

    I'm not sure that teaching and academic staff would be representative of the profession as a whole, I'll submit to your considerable experience on this.

    I take it from my reading elsewhere on this site that you trained at the same school, or at least when it was on Crookston Road?

  12. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

    Hi Euan

    Yes I am an old boy and started in Windsor Terrace (Gosh that long ago). Male staff out numbered females then too. Come to think of it when I was on the staff there were more men than women.

    Good thing I am between jobs just now and available ."Hark! I hear a cannon!" ;)

  13. carolethecatlover

    carolethecatlover Active Member

    Here in Australia it is 50/50, with 50% over 30 years old, and heaps of disgruntled nurses.
    when I was looking for a job for life in 1979, 1980, I was told that they, whoever 'they' were, were trying to keep podiatry a male profession or the wages would go down. I never questioned it, but it STILL is a valid point. Carole
  14. Tuckersm

    Tuckersm Well-Known Member

    All health professions are predominately female. Even the intake for medicine(in Australia) is over 50% female.

    For Podiatry numbers you can check out the AIHW site for Podiatry Workforce data 2003

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