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International Women’s Day: Professional Pathways Reflection

The event that this reflection essay will focus on is the International Women’s Day that took place in Belmore Sports Ground. This gathering celebrated mothers’ and daughters’ roles in society by involving the local community in competitions, creative activities, life-skills workshops, and discussions. International Women’s Day in the city of Bankstown aimed to encourage local women to play an independent and active part in the life of society. I have attended the event as a spectator and a participant as I took part in many workshops and sports activities.

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Description of Professions

The four professions that can significantly benefit in organizing and conducting an event similar to this one are therapeutic recreation, public health, health service management, and health promotion disciplines. Firstly, therapeutic recreation is concerned with providing care and psychosocial, spiritual, social, and physical guidance (Weiss, Tilin, & Morgan, 2014). It encourages well-rounded welfare through recreational programs among vulnerable populations (Weiss et al., 2014). Secondly, health services management is responsible for cultivating and directly facilitating the creation of empowering and health-oriented leadership (Weiss et al., 2014). Thirdly, health promotion professionals focus on improving the individual and community access to healthcare via political, economic, organizational, and educational approaches (Weiss et al., 2014). For instance, this position involves spreading awareness of health topics, engaging community, and policymaking. Fourthly, a public health professional’s role is encompassed by the populations well-being through prevention, recovery, and rehabilitation (Weiss et al., 2014). It focuses on monitoring individuals’ and groups’ health, facilitating the treatment of and minimizing the health hazards when necessary.

Observation

One of the professionals whose role was prominent throughout the event was the health service management specialist. Health service management tackled the training of the influential figures and hosts of the event. This role greatly influenced the tone of delivery of the message and its direction towards encouraging social and psychological well-being. For instance, the discussion leaders were inclusive and encouraged meaningful participation, which enforced a feeling of emotional empowerment that many local female communities lack.

Another discipline that contributed to the creation of the event was the therapeutic management position. The person responsible for that role had to ensure that the attendees developed the emotional intelligence skills necessary for societal integration and success. They conducted health-related activities that enhance an individual’s self-esteem and personal fulfillment. For example, the creation of sports activities with prizes that helped participants physically and emotionally engage in a positive environment helped boost their feeling of being loved and appreciated.

Health promotion specialists made the third significant contribution. Their role was especially prominent in life skills workshops since the specialists created and conducted interactive counseling sessions to help participants learn coping mechanisms and empowerment techniques for their integration in everyday life. Given that women are often oversexualized, assaulted, and discriminated, the health promoter tried to cope with the issue by providing wyas to address the problem and allow women to recover or avoid the trauma.

The role that was not present in the International Women’s Day is the public health position. If it had been represented, the public health representative would have addressed the prevalence of community welfare hazards such as sexism and sexual assault that women deal with every day (Brunton et al., 2017). The specialist would have implemented more specific workshops and the presence of help centers to help spread the awareness of the issues, equip women to cope with the problem, and mitigate the problem of low self-esteem and trauma.

Observation Findings

To start with the area of therapeutic recreation, the event showed that this position is essential in ensuring inclusivity during public gatherings. For instance, Potash, Burnie, Pearson, and Ramirez (2016) argue that the involvement of people with disabilities in art activities to reduce social stigma and enhance individuals’ well-being is the responsibility of therapeutic recreation specialists. García, Wolff, Welford, and Smith (2016) agree with this statement and prioritizes disability engagement in sports. These findings correlate with my observations since therapeutic recreation was used throughout the event to equalize the access to all activities and enable people with disabilities and other special consideration to participate. The surprising aspect is that therapeutic recreation can influence one’s access to healthcare in casual settings with underlying benefits for physical, social, and psychological health.

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As it concerns health promotion, it amazed me that the field of health work is responsible not only for policymaking but also for ensuring change on an individual level, explicitly through the use of empowerment. To my surprise, empowerment is reflected as an essential technique in community support and health promotion in the academic literature. For example, Cyril, Smith, and Renzaho (2016) state that “empowerment, a multi-level construct comprising individual, community and organizational domains, is a fundamental value and goal in health promotion” (p. 809). Thus, the discovery of empowerment being a part of health promotion was a valuable experience.

Lastly, health service management played an unexpected role in preparing the event’s hosts and leaders to engage in meaningful and fruitful interactions with participants. According to Karimi et al. (2018), health service management is essential in encouraging leaders to make a positive change in a community by cultivating healthcare skills and awareness of different health necessities. Health service managers equipped leaders with emotional intelligence skills and knowledge of specific populations attending the event.

Reflection on the Chosen Career Field

Through this reflection, I have acquired additional knowledge in the field of health promotion. According to one of this semester’s readings, while access to health is a fundamental human right that many people exercise daily, some still lack the fulfillment of essential human needs (World Health Organization, 2020). Through this observation, I have learned that health promotion specialists’ role involves both political lobbying and community involvement. Simple steps such as organizing a life skills workshop during the Internal Women’s Day can promote psychological and physical health, making a difference in people’s lives (Evangelidou, 2019). While I was previously interested in the policymaking side of the role, I am now aware of and excited about different health promotion approaches, such as community involvement and help on an individual level.

Conclusion

The reflection helped me reassess health promotion, health services management, public health, and therapeutic recreation and their active roles in the community. Although studying their theoretical frameworks is helpful, observing the real-life change is empowering and educational. While theory might create a vague understanding of one’s duties and responsibilities, engaging in a conversation with actual professionals helps contextualize the findings and apply them in real-life scenarios. As for me, I realized that the health promotion discipline is broader than I expected, which fuels my interest further.

References

Brunton, G., Thomas, J., O’Mara-Eves, A., Jamal, F., Oliver, S., & Kavanagh, J. (2017). Narratives of community engagement: A systematic review-derived conceptual framework for public health interventions. BMC Public Health, 17(1), 944-950. Web.

Cyril, S., Smith, B., & Renzaho, A. (2015). Systematic review of empowerment measures in health promotion. Health Promotion International, 5(9), 809-825. Web.

Evangelidou, S. (2019). Community engagement towards the development of health promotion tools: Summary findings of Metaplan sessions in Barcelona. European Journal of Public Health, 29(4), 87-101. Web.

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García, B., de Wolff, M., Welford, J., & Smith, B. (2016). Facilitating inclusivity and broadening understandings of access at football clubs: The role of disabled supporter associations. European Sport Management Quarterly, 17(2), 226-243. Web.

Karimi, L., Dadich, A., Fulop, L., Leggat, S., Eljiz, K., … Fitzgerald, J. (2018). Brilliant health service management: Challenging perceptions and changing HR practices in health services. Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources, 57(2), 174-190. Web.

Potash, J., Burnie, M., Pearson, R., & Ramirez, W. (2016). Restoring Wisconsin art therapy association in art therapy history: Implications for professional definition and inclusivity. Art Therapy, 33(2), 99-102. Web.

Weiss, D., Tilin, F, & Morgan, M. (2014). The Interprofessional health team. Burlington, Canada: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

World Health Organization. (2020). Declaration of Alma-Ata. Web.

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