Mar 8 / Kimberly Breeden, MS, OTR, Coach, Continuing Education Instructor

Why Being A Woman OT Practitioner and Entrepreneur is Significant

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As you could guess, Niccole and I stay pretty busy as the founding partners of Aspire OT. As most of you know, our mission is to empower and support occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants and students to be successful, powerful and fulfilled OT practitioners. At times you could say that we are consumed by making our mission a reality. 
For me, I often identify myself as mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor. I also identify myself as an occupational therapist and now founding partner of an occupational therapy continuing education company. It wasn't until last month as we prepared to celebrate International Women's Day that I began to include being a woman entrepreneur in my self-identify and even more significantly a woman entrepreneur in a female-dominated profession.  
So why is this shift in self-identity significant? In 1972, women-owned businesses only represented 4.6% of all U.S. business. That number has increased to 42% in 2019 resulting in nearly 13 million women-owned businesses. In that same year, U.S. women-owned businesses employed almost 9.4 million people and generated around 1.9 trillion dollars in revenue. These are wonderful statistics, but they still reflect that we are in the minority. Worldwide women own only 36% of all small businesses.
Since it's inception, occupational therapy has been a predominantly female field. In its founding years, females made up the entire field. In 2019, females remain the majority with 80.31% of all OT practitioners being female while 19.69% are male. Despite these statistics, in 2019 less than 20% of women held key leadership roles in the healthcare workforce. Those same statistics held true for women-owned healthcare businesses.
Niccole and I feel strongly that it is important to the profession that OT practitioners serve in leadership roles throughout the healthcare industry including entrepreneurship. I now realize it is equally important for female OT practitioners to hold these same roles.  

I now understand that identifying myself as a woman OT practitioner and entrepreneur provides me not only a better perspective, but also deepens my purpose.  
As I always say, WE ARE BETTER TOGETHER! It is important that we support one another in achieving and succeeding in leadership roles. We can also support each other by buying products and services from healthcare companies that are owned by women OT practitioners. 
I want to conclude by celebrating all women today and everyday in whatever roles you serve, know that you are recognized for your social, economic, cultural, and political contributions that have made the world a better place.
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