Men at Work: Sexism in Early Childhood Education. NZ Teacher Report

Search Entire Website
male teachers and children playing and learning in sandpit at early childhood centre.

Sexism in Early Childhood Education.
By Sarah Alexander, Lance Cablk, Adam Buckingham, David Butler and Russell Ballantyne.
Published in 2006.
Wellington.

This report provides a history of men in early childhood education in NZ and covers key milestones and policy issues. It also feature articles written by four men on their experiences of being male and being involved in early childhood work. The writers point to difficulties in being men in a predominantly female job. They also discuss the rewards of the job and give helpful advice for other male (and female) educators.

The child abuse argument has proven to be a convenient excuse to keep men out of an occupation that has been a site for feminist activism since the 1970s. Over a decade after the Peter Ellis, Christchurch Civic Childcare Centre case, it is time to move on and bring gender diversity into the workforce. But the hands of employers are tied.

The government, through the Ministry of Education and TeachNZ, has taken greater responsibility for recruitment and setting qualification requirements and either because of this, or despite this, the early childhood workforce now stands out as probably the ‘pinkest’ occupation in New Zealand.

For example, in nursing and midwifery male registered nurses now make up 6.5% of the workforce, and around 33% of flight attendants are male. Internationally, NZ has amongst the lowest rate of male participation in early childhood teaching. 

So, what can be done to bring and keep more men in early childhood education?

First, debate on including men in early childhood teaching is needed in NZ. The veil of sexism inherent in the profession, due to it being a site for feminist activism since the 1970s and continued promulgation of the idea that men are not safe to work with young children, needs to be lifted and discussed.

Mums and dads and the general public can help by asking questions of the Minister of Education, the Ministry of Education, the teachers’ union, teacher education institutions, and early childhood associations about what they are, and are not, doing to make early childhood teaching more inclusive of men.

Women’s groups, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Human Rights Commission need to consider whether it really is in the best interests of women if nothing is done to bring gender diversity into this very female-intensive profession.  

Second, there should be a combined focus on recruitment and retention. To be successful in the long-term this should be well-planned with knowledge of the needs and perspectives of men and the difficulties currently faced by men in the profession informing plans for advertising, recruitment, training and for ensuring optimal work conditions.

To download and print a copy of the report for your personal use only click here Men at Work 

Has this been useful?  Give us your feedback.

You are welcome to add a link to this page on your website. Copyright belongs to the OECE so please do not copy any content without our written permission.

Information provided is of a general nature. It is provided ‘as is’, and we accept no liability for its accuracy or completeness. See our Terms and Conditions.

Related Posts

many colours of paint concept for early childhood sector groups and early childhood education system

Who is Who in our Sector

Early Childhood Education System. The Stakeholders and Key Organisations Peak Bodies / Largest ECE Service Operators Operators of more than 400 licensed services in our

Read More »
Puddle jumping after the rain

Winter and Rainy Day Activities

Winter and Rainy Day Children’s Activities. When the children are getting restless and the noise levels are going up and up and you are thinking about how to get through the day, it’s time to bring in some new ideas […]

To access this member only information, you must purchase Educator Membership.

Read More »
learning stories children looking at their photos

Different Ways to Write a Learning Story

Writing a Learning Story. Learning stories are still the assessment type of choice for most early childhood services and teaching professionals. The way that learning stories are written vary from service to service. While teachers and home-educators know what they […]

To access this member only information, you must purchase Educator Membership.

Read More »
The Office of ECE

Share This Information

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

The Office of ECE Login

Public Area Categories
Categories