It’s a well-known fact and understood fact that the vast majority of people working in childcare are females, though in my experience it has been seen as taboo when it comes to men being in childcare looking after children. There seems to be a lasting stigma that lingers in the air. Though what I hope to do is shed some light on what it means to be a male working in this sector.
While I understand and appreciate that when some children and families experience men working in a childcare setting for the first time, they may be curious and or skeptical about why a man would want to care for children. And this is the journey that I wish to take you on.
You see, to my understanding, care, love, compassion, and education is the human responsibility and is not limited to gender roles. If we begin to think about what men could bring to the sector, other than their gender, we will see that fathers would feel more included in their child’s learning and development. Boys would have a representative and perhaps have the opportunity to relate and connect in emotional and social development that would lead to the next generation of men that won’t be afraid to break down stereotypes of masculinity that are not compassionate, aggressive, and unemotional.
We are seeing globally a movement and need for men to open. We are becoming more aware that the role of men needs to exhibit care and vulnerability. Humanity is starting to recognise that men need to talk, open up and not live behind the false pretense that we need to be strong and brave in the traditional sense – not talking and owing our wellbeing. But rather understand that bravery, strength, and power come from understanding our emotions. This is where men in childcare come in. We need to start thinking about the future. If this was the norm, what would it mean for the future generations. As men and women in the childcare sector work in partnership and unity, all children and all citizens of this work experience life as it should be where both role models come together for the best interests of the child and adapt to healthy relationships and a sense of connection.
The benefits of men in childcare will be as follows:
- Both boys and girls will have the opportunity to understand the male role in society in a positive way.
- We will break down the stigma and reframe the understanding of masculinity.
- Create a societal culture where fathers are included, invested, and involved in their child’s holistic development and take on that role with pride and acceptance.
- Creating a supportive and caring culture in society allowing for mental health benefits for now and the future generations of boys and men.
I say this with the utmost compassion and inspiration. For the men in childcare at the present. Thank you. Thank you for taking the leap, and being part of the difference in children’s lives every day. Breaking down barriers, allowing children to experience these opportunities, and being brave enough to tackle the challenge that is children.