Why are most psychologists female

Basic psychiatric and psychological care is female

In the following text, our long-standing member Martin Rufer thinks about equality and women's strikes, about women in the health care system and about another possible strike ... He has a surprisingly good reason for his personal absence on June 14th.

Much has been written in the last few weeks and months on equality and equal rights for women. That's a good thing, because as was well shown in the BUND ("Being a woman as a professional risk", June 3, 2019), for example, the path via "equal opportunities lawsuits" is a long, rocky one, one characterized by many inhibitions but few successes.

In silence: the psychologists

There is sufficient evidence that women make up the lion's share in health care, and especially in nursing, but also in the medical profession (under 45 years of age) women make up the majority. What has not yet been talked about or written about, however, is the fact that in the field of psychiatric and psychological basic care not only women, but also the majority of psychologists in the field of therapy and / or case management. This applies not only to clinics and outpatient clinics, but also to the numerous psychologists who work in the practices, even if they are delegated doctors. However, they (like psychologists) still earn 30 percent (!) Less than their medical colleagues for the same work (psychotherapy). This system of injustice is well known and has been part of professional policy initiatives and controversial debates for decades, including in the daily press.

Since the profession of “specialist in psychiatry and psychotherapy” is becoming less and less attractive, young doctors are increasingly opting for a different, and for them financially more interesting, professional field. As a result, clinics and practices have been struggling with young talent problems for years. In this genuinely medical field, psychology and with it women have now settled and established themselves “quietly”. This picture can be seen even more clearly in the postgraduate training courses in “Psychotherapy”, where both doctors and psychologists (men) are the exception. It seems that women in particular respond to the (part-time) job offer formerly intended for doctors with understandable, including family reasons, and benefit from it in many ways. Without too much prickling - you don't want to cut yourself into your own flesh - both the “dependency”, ie the medical appointment or delegation, and the smaller “wages” - which are not that bad compared to other professional groups, either is - accepted.

If a woman wants - everything stands still

It is therefore clear, and those responsible in the clinics and practices also know that: Without them, the highly qualified psychologists, the psychiatric care in the clinics would already collapse today, and the number of patients waiting for an outpatient therapy place, rise immeasurably! Even if the majority of the population would hardly be affected in the short and medium term with such a blackout, equality would certainly be made a top priority within a very short time and at the highest political level. As a result, the demands and equality models of medical and psychological psychotherapy that have been postponed for years would probably be taken up very quickly, further elaborated and, if necessary. put into practice with appropriate "emergency measures".

“The balance sheet is sobering, but there is hope”. This is how the NNZ on Sunday titled the current debate at Pentecost. This is another reason why it is important to actively support the fight for equality: as psychologists, as doctors, as patients. Because soon things could get serious in this matter too and get down to business ...

On my own behalf

So, finally, on my own account: The fact that I did not take part in the “women's strike” has on the one hand to do with the fact that I, as a self-employed psychologist and psychotherapist, cannot strike myself, and on the other hand, because I was on June 14th I'm in the south and can celebrate my 70th birthday there in a smaller, family-friendly circle.

Martin Rufer, Wohlen b. Bern

Systemis member Martin Rufer has been working as an independent psychologist and psychotherapist (psychotherapy, supervision, advanced training) in Bern since 1990. From 2000–2009 he was managing director of the Center for Systemic Therapy and Counseling (ZSB) Bern. Among other things, he published the book “Capture complex, act simply” (Vandenhoek Ruprecht 2012).

The Systemis Management Board congratulates Martin Rufer on his 70th birthday!