Growing children love to mirror themselves to adults. In order to develop different aspects of their own (gender) identity, it matters that these adults would be both women and men.
In ECEC services however, reality shows that only few professionals are male. Women are the overwhelming majority in childcare, in pre-primary education and in parental support services.
Campaigning for male professionals
In order to get rid of the barriers that men still experience in the sector of the young child, some research is needed first. What is it, that makes working in childcare, in pre-primary education or in parental support services attractive for men or not? It seems that some kind of imaging is present, both in society at large and within the different trainings for these functions. Another factor may be the work floor as it is now: teams of predominantly women do not make it easy for an individual man trying to fit into that culture.
Participation of fathers
VBJK does research, screens trainings and imaging and gives recommendations on working in gender-mixed teams. A ‘man-friendly’ culture is not only wanted to attract more male professionals, it also supports fathers who attend ECEC services. Fathers show a high commitment in raising their children. The question is how services can value and stimulate that.
VBJK has been an international pioneer in the debate of gender in professions for young children. This issue still remains high on the agenda.