Men Providing Childcare? Why Not?
Before reading this article, please take this poll.
If you had need of babysitting services, would you consider hiring a male caregiver?
Should Men be in the Childcare Profession?
As you all know, the childcare business is booming these days. Every year, families all over the world are scrambling to find adequate childcare for their children. Just looking on several websites has shown me that the need for QUALITY caregivers is in high demand. There are many caregivers out there seeking work, but sadly to say, there are unqualified and untrained people working in this crucial industry. Some have minimal training and little or no experience whatsoever. Finding highly qualified people to care for our children is becoming harder and harder. But a large part of our workforce is being almost totally ignored to provide quality care! Nobody wants their child to be cared for by caregivers that aren't the best! Sadly, a lot of our population has a stigma and a lot of bias against some great childcare providers! I am speaking of male caregivers.
Society today, as open as it usually is, still has archaic views on men taking care of children! I have known and spoken to men trying to get a job as a babysitter, nanny (sometimes called a manny), or a position in a daycare center. The facts I have learned about this injustice are astounding. I have done my research because I am one of these rare male caregivers. As a former teacher for many years, men are rarely found in child care positions. Of course at the secondary and college level, they are common, but if you look in the elementary grades and preschools, they are as scarce as hen's teeth! I know, I have been there! I taught in public elementary schools for nearly 20 years, and before college, worked in a preschool. Men were almost totally absent.
I know of one manny, who has a degree in education and many years of outstanding childcare experience and references. He has literally put out over 1000 applications to posted childcare positions on various websites and other sources. I was informed recently that out of those 1000 applications for real jobs, he received less that 10 interviews! His background check is perfectly clean, but still people have doubts about him. He did finally get a position with a family, which was fortunate, but it totally shocked me that almost everyone he applied with didn't even contact him or even acknowledge that he even applied!
Most parents are still uneasy with the idea of a man caring for children, fearing that men are not nurturing enough, or the more common reason, that the man is some kind of pervert or pedophile. How absurd to place all men in that category!
Rebekkah Zincavage, director of Boston Nanny Center, which employs 300 nannies, 15 that are male, says a female nanny will get 2 offers after 8 interviews. A man, on the other hand, will go on 30 interviews for the same amount of offers. "The men are stellar", she states, "many with more experience than their women counterparts, but they have to be twice as good! People are just so skeptical!"
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The vast majority of people believe that women will do a much better job than a man in a childcare situation. That is simply not true. I know women faced this kind of bias in the past when women were taking jobs in certain fields like construction, the military, etc. They still face some of that today. Any person that is turned down just because of gender is a tragedy and totally unjust!
Men are just as capable of being nurturing, caring, loving, etc. as women. Studies have proven it! So many children today have no positive male role models! Boys AND girls need to have this male influence in their lives to mature into well-rounded, productive adults! I realize that men are thought to be more likely to be involved in inappropriate behavior with children, but there are women also that are in this category. On the news, whenever a male is accused, they are destroyed by the media and never get justice. Yes, many of them are guilty, but some are not! You rarely hear of a female accused of the same thing, although I know it happens more than most know.
Hiring caring, loving, nurturing child care givers should not be gender based! It should only depend on their background, experience, references, education, etc. We are cheating our children of quality caregivers due to bias and archaic stereotypes!
As I stated earlier, I love children and taught for decades, mostly in grades 2 and 3. Even as a teacher, some parents were uncomfortable having their children being taught by a man. Some were very vocal about their opinions. After the school year ended, many asked for their younger children to be placed in my classroom! Bias was difficult to overcome. I had to be twice as good as some of my female colleagues. Even winning awards for my teaching expertise didn't help some bull-headed people change their attitudes to at least give me a chance.
I am now caring for children outside of the classroom, employed by families that need someone that has experience and training to care for children! I am proud to say, none have been disappointed in any way, shape, or form! I am proud to be a male 'manny'. I still can mold and shape the lives of young children in a positive way! Many of the children I care for are girls and we have developed great relationships. Some are now adults and still keep in contact with me! I have seen the positive results of having a male childcare provider!
I truly believe that ANYONE, male or female, that has the experience, qualifications, personality, and the gift for working with children should be considered seriously for any childcare job! If the man passes all background and reference checks, experience is verified, etc. then the man should have every opportunity to prove himself. Everyone deserves a chance and to be judged only on gender is shallow!