Men in childcare & early years careers
Stories about gender inequality at work are regularly discussed in the media, usually involving the under-representation of women – but what about the other side of the story?
The number of men working in nurseries is one of the biggest imbalances in all of today’s workforces with males making up just 2% of staff in early years care.
Why are numbers so low?
Typecasting is one of the main reasons so few men work in childcare. Some parents can be initially uncomfortable with a male practitioner looking after their child; for example when changing their child’s nappy.
Breaking down these initial barriers is such an important factor in order to recruit more men into childcare.
Another reason for the sector’s imbalance is its status as a profession. Traditionally, females tend to drift towards a career in childcare more than males do. In education, early years is not typically a career choice that is offered to men and portrayed as a viable and rewarding option.
Why do we need men in childcare?
It is important that children see both men and women as role models.
Having more men working in childcare is a great way for children to have positive male interactions and build solid relationships, especially for those children who may not have a male role model in their lives.
What can you do?
Here are a few ideas for how you can encourage and support male members of staff in childcare:
- Present to schools about a professional career in the childcare sector
- Take along any male staff members you have as an example of the difference they make specifically
- Ensure existing male staff members feel comfortable and accepted in your nursery
- Staff uniforms
- Using shared toilets
- Remember, younger male staff members may not have the confidence to speak up if they're uncomfortable.
Where can you find more support?
Support is certainly growing for men working in childcare with a number of organisations forming networks that encourage more men to choose early years as a profession and support men existing in the early years sector.
Read the full article in Nursery News September - October 2016 here.