When you think of the child care industry, you immediately think that it is a female dominated industry. That is true to say the least. According to a UK report by Day Nurseries, only 2 per cent of the work force in the child care industry is male.
This is both surprising and not-so-surprising. It is surprising because the number of male child carers is very low. And it is not-so-surprising because it is female dominated industry.
It is sad for me to write that there is a social stigma against male child care workers. There have been cases where parents have refused to give their child to a male child care worker. And it could be for a number of reasons.
Either their sexual orientation will come in to question or some parents consider them to be a risk.
But the industry is pushing for more male child care workers. You may be wondering if there is a social stigma against male child care workers, then why is there a push for men to consider a career in child care?
Well, it is extremely important to break these social barriers. The child care industry takes safety very seriously. Where I am from in the UK, all child care worker need to hold a paediatric first aid qualification and need to be registered on to Ofsted's database for regular monitoring.
And the thing is, not many people know about this. If these safety protocols are already in place, then these safety concerns should be put to bed.
So going back to original question, why is there a push for more male child care workers in a industry that is predominantly female?
Well there are a number of reasons:
There is a growing concern in the level of academic achievement in boys in comparison to the academic achievement in girls.
The UK government believes that the disproportional gender imbalance in the child care industry is the cause of this. But the main challenge the industry is facing is the social stigmatism mentioned earlier in the post.
It is quite natural for us to assume that a child carer is mostly associated with women, due to their caring and maternal instincts.
But with having more men in the child care industry gives boys a chance to spend time with someone that they can relate to.
Even though we want to live in a world where we are all treated fairly and equally, we can’t deny the fact that both boys and girls are inherently different. Generally speaking, boys and girls have different interests.
But saying that, it is really important for child carers to encourage both boys and girls to be open to various different toys and activities.
Following on from the point that both men and women are different, when it comes to child care, having more men in the industry can provide new perspectives and view points.
Diversity so crucial in the development of society. And this includes children as well. If the child care industry has more men in the industry, then children will be exposed to a true reflection of gender mix in the real world.
This will help children develop their social skills at a very early stage so that they can build strong relations with people from different backgrounds.
With the industry being female dominant as it is now, the industry is quite accustomed to communicating with the child’s mother, rather than the child’s father. This usually results in the father feeling left out during their child’s early years.
More male child carers would encourage more fathers to get involved their child’s development and would also break that barrier that many fathers feel.
Children who are brought up with single parentage are usually brought up without a male role model. And this is really sad to see.
According to a report titled: Fathers and Their Impact on Children’s Well-Being, there are number of benefits to having an involved father during the child’s development.
The report says the following:
"Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections.
The way fathers play with their children also has an important impact on a child's emotional and social development. Fathers spend a higher percentage of their one-to-one interactions with infants and preschoolers in stimulating, playful activity than do mothers. From these interactions, children learn how to regulate their feelings and behaviour.
Children with involved, caring fathers have better educational outcomes. The influence of a father's involvement extends into adolescence and young adulthood. Numerous studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents."
To summarise, children who don’t have a fatherly figure are at an disadvantage. Having more male child carers will give children from single parent households access to a fatherly figure that they so desperately deserve.
According to accounts by two male child carers on Early Years Careers, it suggests that the male child carers tend to get involved in more adventurous activities. The two child carers have also both described how children are more drawn to them due to the activities that they do, whether it may be soccer, games or playing a musical instrument.
And the reason why this is good is because it encourages children to become active. And they will spend less time in front of the TV.
If you’re a male and you feel that you have right characteristics in becoming a child care worker, then what are you waiting for?
The industry is looking for male child carers for reasons that have been listed in this post.
Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts on this topic? Please let us know in the comments section below.