“My name in Brett Parker and I am now in my 3rd year of my Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics degree at Griffith University on the Gold Coast. When I enrolled I had no idea what I was getting into. I loved food (I am a cook and have run my own café’s) and wanted to learn about Food Science. What I didn’t know was that I was going to be the minority, from a gender point of view. My first insight to this was when the Program Convenor said to me in the 4th week of my first year “it’s a competitive industry. . . .and it is 90% female” with a smirk that resonated. . . . .”good luck!” Call me naive, but that honestly came as a real shock. Think of it this way, your first year in dietetics is really a real life version of Where’s Wally, the dietetics student? The first year of the program involves studying foundation health sciences subjects (Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology and Statistics) where you are in classes with up to 900 students from all disciplines (Medicine, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Exercise Science and Dentistry). It took me nearly a year to find the 35 dietetics students in my course. It turns out that of the 35 enrolled 4 are male, and my convenor was right on the money.
So does it really matter? There’s plenty of female comments on the struggles woman have faced in the past in entering male dominated industries. I think Marilyn Monroe summed it up perfectly when she commented “I don’t mind living in a man’s world as long as I can be a woman in it.” That’s pretty much the way I feel. I’m actually thrilled to be a minority. My course and industry might be 90% female but the population is nearly a 50/ 50 split between males and females. I have an advantage in that I can relate to men in ways that women can’t for one simple reason, I am a man.
I also like the impact me being a minority has had on my fellow students. They listen to me because I am different. I have points of view that I can offer not because they are better or more informed, but they come from an angle that sometimes they just hadn’t thought of. This is good for the industry, just like its great that women are getting into industries that have been traditionally male centric, trades especially.
Dietetics remains a female dominated industry. From my experience those in the industry are wonderfully caring individuals that want the best for their patients. I do, however, encourage men to enter this industry as we are really underrepresented.
You wont be disappointed, it’s an amazing career choice.
P.S. Thanks to Amanda Griffiths for giving me the opportunity to write this article about my experiences as DietitianToBe, in what is well and truly a female dominated industry.”