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Why should men choose early childhood education and care?

Why should men choose early childhood education and care?

Why should men choose early childhood education and care?

Nationally, men account for less than 2% of early childhood and care educators.

They have been turned away, firstly from the lack of male representation, the misbelief that early childhood education is suitable mainly for females and, last but not least, the low pay rates.

Those few men that have chosen early childhood believe, and are confident in doing so, do whatever they put their mind to, regardless of their gender.

Isn’t that what we are trying to instil in the future generations regarding discrimination against gender?

Early childhood education and care has been a dominant female sector for a very long time.

Shouldn’t it be time we change it?

Having gender balance is significant and male educators play a vital role in creating better outcomes for children.

According to a 2007 publication by the National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC), a former national body and forerunner to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA),  male educators can be a valuable resource for childcare services.

As reported by the above publication having male professionals in the early childhood sector can:

  • Encourage children to develop their gender identity
  • Promote respectful, harmonious relationships
  • Initiate play and learning experiences which acknowledge the similarities and differences between genders
  • Challenge stereotypes by promoting alternative images of masculinity which are not aggressive or unemotional
  • Encourage fathers to be more involved in the service’s operations, and support the role of fathers as important contributors to children’s lives
  • Advocate childcare as a valued and worthwhile career path
  • Reinforce that caring is a human response of which both men and women are capable of

It is very important to break down the stereotypes of what role males can actually play in raising, caring, and educating young children.

In doing so we may also see more engagement from fathers in the centres too. They will possibly engage more easily with the male educators.

As young children grow, it is essential that they recognise that people of all genders play an important part in their care and education. Early childhood education and care plays a very crucial role in young children’s gender identity development. If children do not have relationships with male educators, then unfortunately, gender stereotypes are reinforced, particularly as they start to understand who is responsible for their growth and learning.

It is crucial to be considerate of the cultural needs of the children and their families, so it is equally important of encouraging positive gender behaviours. This could be achieved by the inclusion of more male childcare professionals.

For some of those children and their families, even those childcare services, the employment of a male educator may be perceived with hesitation at first, wondering why a man would want to care for young children? Of course, there would be some advocates recognising the very importance of promoting gender equality and positive role modelling.

It is essential to understand the challenges that men may face in the childcare sector, especially when men first choose childcare as a career and might face questioning not only from society but also from their own family or friends.

It is exactly how women may experience many challenges when they choose a career which has been considered male dominated, such as a truck driver, a builder or even a doctor.

We should mention the fact that for some male childcare professionals it is challenging to try and find a balance between being considered as an equal with their female colleagues, whilst at the same time having to deal with the social expectations that females are the predominant nurturing figures in the lives of young children.


As the profession of Early Childhood Education and Care is evolving, adding the Three-Year-Old-Funded Kindergarten from this year, all educators, of every gender, age, or culture try and offer all young children a supporting environment in which they can just “be” and “become” their better selves.

If you are a male considering joining this rewarding profession, do not hesitate.

Children need the positive impact you could offer on their lives.


Martha Pavlidis

Trainer and Assessor in

Early Childhood Education and Care