Conquering Child Care - The Last Frontier Where Men Are Hesitant To Go

9 June 2016
 Categories: , Blog

A Google search on gender equality might get you thousands if not millions of hits, which are mainly focused on women. Yet there are areas in which the sting of gender inequality can still be felt for men and one of these is in child care. It is estimated that only about 2.3 percent of the caregivers in child care are men and this means that the profession is largely female centered. In trying to break into this last female bastion, the suggestions often given to men in encouraging increased male participation in the field often sounds like they are forging a path through the last frontier. One such suggestion is that they may want to be "extra organized and detailed" as well as being professionally trained, as a means of getting the job. 

However, if you would like to get into the childcare field, then here are a few ways that you can go about having a successful career.

Recognize the culture

As with any other profession that may boast a predominance of one group over another, there is a culture in early childhood care and that culture is female centric. It has been suggested that this may seem hostile to men when they choose to enter this professional arena as parents as well as female co-workers may be operating on the assumption that females make the best caregivers for young children. This hostility may also involve distrust that can stem from the idea that men are more likely to be sexual predators even though it has been found that 8.3 percent of sexual offenses are carried out by women. 

In understanding and working with and around the culture, it may work for you to have male friends who can be supportive of your work challenges and can help to give you support when you need it. This support can also help when you are faced with biases and unfair (or even unjust) assumptions about your motives as a male caregiver.

Understand the challenges

Unfortunately, even now, there are still challenges that you are likely to face as a male child caregiver that, truthfully, stems from a point of gender. One such challenge that still exists is the underlying prejudice that men in early quality child care are motivated by a perverse sexual attraction to children. To meet this challenge you might have to initiate discussion with parents about contact appropriateness and gender interaction especially with female children. You should also be willing to be subject to a background check to allay the fears of parents and institutions where you find work.

Another challenge is the pay which is usually between $19,000 and $51,000 per year. This may be small compared to other professions and unfortunately, the younger the children are that you work with, the lower the pay scale tends to be. However, the training that you have, including early childhood and CPR training can make your prospects of employment and monetary benefits better.