Occupational therapy: a feminine or feminist profession?

Elizabeth Maria Freire de Araújo Lima About the author


Considering that most occupational therapists are women, and that the profession was initially thought of as a women’s profession, this essay restores the presence of the feminist movement in the soil in which occupational therapy germinated and its possible contributions to the development of the profession today. The essay is based on a theoretical, historical, and critical study that revisits the origins of occupational therapy as a field of practices and knowledge related to care, to present exercises for a genealogy of occupational therapy, emphasizing the presence of political activism and feminist thought in the emergence of the profession in the United States of America in the early 20th century. In this way, we aimed to problematize the contours traditionally imposed on the profession and reactivate the ethical-political dimension that strongly marked its emergence by questioning the gender inequalities that permeated the profession during these little more than 100 years of existence. The approach of feminist epistemology was fundamental to this path, which sought to give visibility to the potency of occupational therapy to escape the restrictive models of life and work in the contemporary world.

Occupational therapy; Feminism; Health occupations

Centro Brasileiro de Estudos de Saúde Av. Brasil, 4036, sala 802, 21040-361 Rio de Janeiro - RJ Brasil, Tel. 55 21-3882-9140, Fax.55 21-2260-3782 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: revista@saudeemdebate.org.br