Why are we doing this campaign?

Karen Middleton addresses questions about our new campaign, which highlights microaggressions in the profession

CSP CEO Karen Middleton
CSP CEO Karen Middleton

We’re now a few months into our microaggressions campaign and I’ve seen and heard commentary from some members who feel it is not needed, that there are higher priorities for the CSP, and that those affected by microaggressions need to be more stoic and “not so easily offended”.

I want to address the points raised. A microaggression is a statement or action, that shows subtle, intentional or unintentional discrimination, hostility or negative attitudes towards members of a marginalised group. Our campaign was developed with members with lived experience of microaggressions – members who have certain protected characteristics which mean they are often marginalised by those of us who don’t. This feeling of marginalisation and not belonging is not something they inherently feel, they are made to feel it by others/us and it is those others/us that need to try to make everyone feel like they belong.

Many of the comments about the campaign talk about ‘no intention’ to cause hurt. While that may be the case, one of our aims is to educate in order to avoid even unintentional hurt. Surely none of us would want to upset anyone else, intentional or otherwise? 

In some ways, the campaign is no more important for our profession than it is for any human being to learn how not to upset or marginalise others – surely it is a moral obligation. For our profession, there are additional imperatives. Firstly, we have a workforce shortage, and we need every student physio to feel they belong so that they stay and graduate. And once qualified, we need all the physiotherapy staff we can get, so it’s important everyone feels welcome in the workplace.

Secondly, as we interact with the public and care for our patients, it is vital we don’t make the mistakes highlighted in the campaign that could cause them to suffer.

And lastly, for our profession to evolve and to thrive, it needs to be diverse. We know the value of a multi-disciplinary team – diversity brings creativity and resilience – so too for our profession. And the more we reflect the communities we serve, the more likely we are to meet their needs.

Our campaign is essential for many reasons and some of the negative commentary only highlights how necessary it is. 

A compassionate profession is compassionate for all its members, so, if you haven’t already, please take a look at the campaign hub on our website. 

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