children playing

Men in childcare

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Occupational segregation: Working paper series No. 35
Rolfe, H.
Publication Date: 
19 Jul 2005

Text of the press release

Nearly three in ten men (27%) would consider working in the childcare sector, and one in four boys expresses an interest in entering the 'caring ' professions - yet only one in fifty childcare workers are men, a new report released today by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) shows. Men's interest in childcare may be linked to the increasingly active role of men as fathers. Previous research released last month by the EOC shows that 4 out of 5 new fathers said they would be happy to stay at home and look after their child, and 9 out of 10 were as confident as their partner at looking after their baby. The EOC's report, which includes a review of evidence and current activity to recruit men to the sector, is released at a time when the Government needs to attract more men into childcare to deliver on its promise to further expand childcare. The recently launched Extended Schools Programme alone needs 163,000 new workers over the next few years &em; increasing the size of the current childcare workforce by more than fifty percent. Furthermore, though there is now one place for every four children under eight &em; a significant improvement from one for every nine children in 1997 -- parents still often report difficulties in finding suitable local childcare. Children also stand to benefit. The EOC's research shows that a more diverse workforce significantly improves the quality of childcare by exposing children to a wider range of positive role models. The majority of parents support bringing more male child care workers into the profession - over three-quarters (77%) of respondents to a MORI survey were in favour of more male carers. The EOC has identified the following key barriers to recruiting men into childcare: - Low pay, poor terms and conditions - The perception of childcare as being 'women's work' and a belief that men are unwelcome - Insufficient information for boys at schools on caring careers and apprenticeships, despite high levels of interest. The EOC is calling for the government to act to: - Raise the status of the caring profession through qualifications and an emphasis on training, which, in turn, should result in better pay for both men and women in the profession - Provide better information for young people about non-traditional career options - Make non-traditional work experience placements for boys and girls more widely available