The Office of Pre-Primary Education

Representing the sector and service providers
Service management and teacher support (ChildForum)
Research publisher (NZ-International RECE Journal)
Parent and whānau information service (My ECE)
Find out more - go to About Us

childforum logo

My ECE My Early Childhood Education
Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitteryoutube

Member Login

Member Login


A Case For Why Men are Needed in Childcare and Teaching

By Sarah Alexander

Drawing on research, knowledge of best practices, and ethical values a list of key reasons for opening up childcare teaching to men are given.

Current Situation

In the 21st Century it is highly unusual to see a profession still as biased against one gender as early childhood teaching and care work is.  Strange as it may seem the proportion of men to women employed in early chilhdood services is now lower than it was back in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Men’s Contribution

Why should men be involved in childcare and early education?

Perhaps the strongest reason is that the profession should represent society – and society is made up of men and women, boys and girls. For men to be absent or not employed in childcare and early education services sends out a message that only women can care for and be responsible for children. We know this is not true.

A variety of literature points to a range of benefits for children of men working in childcare/early education:

  • Girls and boys can observe that it is socially acceptable for men to participate in the care of children and do domestic duties (e.g. cuddle and comfort children, wipe tables and change nappies).
  • Boys need men around them.  Boys are more likely to admire and model the behaviour of male, rather than their female adults.
  • Boys’ interests are more likely to be respected and catered for by male adults (e.g. ball games, more boisterous play).
  • Girls need men around them. The involvement of men in early childhood programmes lead to an increase in the range and variety of activities and conversation for girls.
  • Male educators are important for girls and boys who do not have a father or who have little contact with a male in their family. Also they may provide a stable, positive male figure for children whose “fathers” are constantly changing, regularly absent from home, or are abusing them.
  • Men may help to give boys in particular a better early foundation for learning because men are more likely to create a “boy-friendly” environment whereas the evidence points to women favouring girls and rewarding feminine behaviours.
  • Having men working with children can signal to fathers that (a) it is a cool occupation for men and (b) it is a good thing for fathers to be involved in their children's care and learning.
  • When men are working alongside women in an early childhood programme it can help to sensitise female staff and mothers to the possibility of their own (possibly latent) sexist attitudes as they become used to working with men and seeing men caring for children.

Related articles 

Proceedings of the 1st Summit on Men in Early Childcare and Teaching 

{jcomments on}

To keep reading, login with your ECE Service's member username and password.  If you don't know what your service's login is ask your manager or team leader Smile

Not a member?  Click on the blue button below to join 

Free E-Newsletter

Receive the free Early Childhood Alert.


We hate spam as much as you, we will not sell your contact details to anyone.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Read our Privacy Policy here.

Don’t miss out any longer, click the button below to join ChildForum

Join Us!



Subscribe now for information you can trust, expert advice and research, as well as access to quality resources. 

We are confident you will be delighted to discover and experience the benefits of membership - so join now and make this message for non-members disappear from your screen. 

Membership Options


Who is this for?
Teachers, Caregivers, Teacher Educators, Policy Advisors - any indivdual with an interest in ECE

$98.00 12 months from the date of joining
$60.00 6 months student-only

Choose your own personal username and password
(Note that this membership does not give access to specialist ECE Service members-only info and support) 

ECE Service Organisation

Who is this for?
Centres, home-based, hospital-based, playgroups ... established or newly licensed.

$198.00 12 months per standalone licensed service
Special rates for organisations with more than 1 licensed service

This membership gives access to professional & research materials enjoyed by individual members PLUS ECE service management area info and support. 

Library NZ-International Research
in ECE Journal Subscriber

Who is this for?
Universities, Polytechnics and organisations wishing to have online access to the NZ-Int Research in ECE journal (includes all past and current issues) 

$125.00 annual subscription, renewable in November each year

A username and password for your library users linked to your IP address.