You what, more men working in childcare?

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I don’t wish to get too excited, but over the past year I’ve noticed increasing debate within the childcare industry about the role of men. In short, there seems to be a consensus that more male practitioners are needed in the workforce.

Just to give you some idea of the gargantuan task the industry faces, only 2% of childcare workers in the UK are male. It’s a similar story in primary schools where the male proportion of the workforce in England stands at around 12% (according to the General Teaching Council).

childcare, men, nursery worker, nursery, child minder, stereotypes, stereotypes, gender, gender rights, equality, masculism, feminism
A photograph of a man..working in a childcare setting!

This isn’t the first time I’ve written on this subject. It’s an ongoing issue but one I’d like to think is being taken increasingly seriously by childcare providers, parents and policy makers.  

The latest organisation to wade into this debate is The Co-operative Childcare (The Co-operative provides childcare services? No, I didn’t know either!). Wishing to challenge gender stereotypes, it has launched a campaign called Real Men Work In Childcare.

With 50 Nurseries across the UK, The Co-operative Childcare plans to increase its male workforce to 10%. It also wants to see at least one male colleague in every Co-operative Childcare nursery. 

To achieve this, it’s going to partner with job centres and recruitment agencies to explain the benefits of being a practitioner. It will also visit colleges and schools to educate young people making their career choices.

Mike Abbott, General Group Manager at The Co-operative Childcare, said: “Gender stereotypes in childcare are holding some men back from what could be the perfect career path for them where they can positively influence our next generation. Children need to be around both male and female adults to develop their core skills, become well rounded young people and continue to flourish.

“We are determined to make a marked difference to the male to female ratio in our nurseries by leading the way in challenging these preconceptions that are damaging the industry and championing that ‘real men’ really do work in childcare.”

Thankfully the Co-operative is not alone. I’ve previously sought advice from a fantastic group of childcare practitioners who make up the Men in Childcare London network. Surrey County Council has also taken measures to encourage men into the industry with its Men in Playwork Early Education and Childcare initiative.

The question for you, dear reader, is what you think about a childcare workforce that features more men? Would you see it as an encouraging sign if your child’s nursery nursery had male employees? I certainly hope so, or else you’re reading the wrong blog.

21 thoughts on “You what, more men working in childcare?”

  1. John, you are absolutely right –
    with changing family dynamics, schools need more male teachers.
    As a SENCO in a primary, I can see more men coming through, which is hugely welcome…
    it’s great for the children, and also helps to bring slightly more balance into the staff room too!
    Enjoying your blog – Emma 🙂

    1. I don’t think it’s healthy for any workforce to have such a massive gender imbalance. Glad to hear you think more men are entering the teaching ranks.

  2. I think like any industry a well rounded workforce can only be a good thing. It was only when I got to secondary school that I had contact with male role models so if more are encouraged to work right at the beginning of a childs journey it would be very positive 🙂

  3. Pingback: Family finances and he cost of raising children | Dad Blog UKFamily finances and he cost of raising children - Dad Blog UK

  4. As a early years practitioner and university student who is Male I couldn’t agree with you more John. I also write about this subject on my blog over on blogger, and I thoroughly believe that there should be more men in the childcare provision.

    I am glad to see that it is not just me that has decided to stand up and talk about this. Yes the industry is female dominated, however there is this massive fear from men that if they work with young children they get labelled as paedophiles, and this of course is unaccepteble.

    I am actually very pleased that the Co-Operative have launched this new program to encourage men to go into childcare. I am going to save your blog to my favorites and keep checking it as I believe that this is an issue that fathers and male childcare practitioners should tackle together, you sir have earn’t my respect.

    My blog post on this issue dates back from January this year, but here is a link for you to read over John if you get the time: http://malechildcarer.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/we-need-more-men-in-childcare.html

    William Crawford, Author of The Male Childcarer Blog & Childcare Practitioner.

    1. Thanks for commenting William. I will certainly be checking out your book. Please do watch this space, I’ll be publishing lots more on this subject in the future!

  5. Hi John,

    I am nursery Manager in hull and I am currently doing my BA Honours degree in children’s learning and development, which this is one of my chosen topics for my current unit. I am so glad I have found your blog which is a Great blog and so very true. We have just employed a male apprentice and the feedback has been great by parents and also the children, I defiantly agree that we need more males in childcare it has made so much of a difference already. Leona 🙂

  6. it’s probably better for children to see a mix of people doing the job, might change their beliefs when they’re older about who ‘should be’ looking after children. If we want an equal world it’s just as important for children to see men in caring roles as women in leadership / science roles.

    1. I couldn’t agree more. I also don’t think any workplace benefits from having people solely of one gender working there. You need diversity in all its forms and children benefit from being exposed to different people of different backgrounds.

  7. When we are talking about gender equity, I am always consider a men role should be similar as women role in childcare. Men will gives extra dose to child such as – punctuality, discipline, control in difficult situations and many more.
    Thanks for sharing very amazing post.

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