A national survey showed strong support for more men to be involved in early childhood teaching and for initiatives to be implemented to help this to happen.
The 2012 survey revealed that it was believed that better representation of men in teaching would:
- be of benefit to children’s learning and social development,
- raise quality within the sector in various ways including improving staff dynamics by having a mixed gender team, and
- help Dads feel more comfortable staying with their child and participating in the ECE programme.
Gender equality and the place of men in childcare work
In New Zealand, the first country in the world to give women the vote, childcare work is still predominantly done by women.
In 1992 2.3% of all staff in teacher-led early childhood services were men but the proportion dropped over the next decade to a low of 1.0% in 2005.
From 2006 the proportion stopped declining and then started to increase.
By 2010 1.8% of teaching staff were men, jumping further to 2.2% in 2013.
Unfortunately there is a sign that the upward trend has now stopped because in 2015 the percentage of male teaching staff was 2.0%. No reliable updated data is available from the Ministry of Education for 2016 and 2017 yet.
The advocacy and research of Dr Sarah Alexander and ChildForum, the interest of journalists, the willingness of men in the sector to share their stories, the formation of EC-Menz a support and advocacy association for Men in ECE, and the enthusiasm of the many individuals in the sector to encourage men to consider childcare teaching - are in no small part a reason for the reversal of the negative trend.
However an end to gender bias is not going to occur until there is political will by today's leaders in Parliment for this to be so.
Progress has been hampered by today's and past Ministers of Education failure to act despite strong calls by ChildForum, EC-Menz, and the public.
Thank you to TVNZ for allowing us to share the following 2006 documentary with you.
Men in Early Childhood Education Invitation Award and Sponsors
Men are more likely to enter early childhood teaching if we welcome them. The cost of training for a recognised qualification in early childhood education can be a barrier for men, particularly those who have been previously working in a paid position or who have family members to support.
The Invitation Award offered by ChildForum welcomes men into the profession and supports men who are undertaking formal training. READ MORE.
For Joshua McKay, working in early childhood education is something of a family occupation. His wife Sarah is an ECE teacher.
Joshua says his interactions with his two young boys encouraged him to train to work with children.
“Not only do I want the best for our boys but I just enjoy spending time with them and doing great things together like building our mega tree-house in the back yard,” he says.
“They just love this interaction so much that it makes sense for me to work with other children and maybe encourage others to do the same”.
Related information and readings
A short history of changes in the number of men working in ECE, what's caused the changes in male teacher numbers, the characteristics of men who become teachers and the core issues - GO TO THE QUICK OVERVIEW
People's questions and answers about men working with children, relationships with parents and female staff, employment matters, and teacher training - READ MORE
Papers and research studies on men in early childhood teaching - READ MORE
Tips for including Dads in the early childhood programme - READ MORE
Toward the ECE sector becoming more welcoming of Dads and issues for single (sole parent) Dads - READ MORE