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Towards gender inclusion in the Early Childhood Education and Care profession

NCI launches ECEC survey on International Men's Day 2019

International Men's Day Survey

This International Men's Day, National College of Ireland asks: why are there not more men working in Early Childhood Education and Care?

Early Childhood Educators are predominantly female. As long ago as 1996, EU targets were set to achieve a 20% male workforce in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) by 2006. We are now in 2019 and, in Ireland, approximately 1% of the ECEC workforce is male. The European average is a 97% female workforce in ECEC.

As a society, we are encouraging women to reach the highest level of business leadership, we are encouraging women into STEM careers, because we recognise the value of diversity and the importance of broad representation. Why are we not encouraging men into the profession of Early Childhood Education and Care?

Dr Leo Casey, Director of Learning & Teaching and Education Programmes at NCI, says: "We can observe that society is changing, that fathers are more active in taking on parenting roles, for example, however this move towards equality in childhood care and education doesn't seem to be reflected in the professional ECEC environment, where men appear to be very much under-represented."

Dr Meera Oke, Programme Director for the BA (Hons) in ECEC at NCI says: "We need to measure current participation, cultural experiences and attitudes to decide what next steps to take to improve gender balance in Early Childhood Education and Care practice. We have devised surveys for ECEC providers and for second-level students in 4th, 5th and 6th year to measure both current employment rates and the career guidance received by the next generation. Today we launch another survey aimed at parents of babies and young children. This data will inform our next steps, which we will share on International Men’s Day next year."

Parents of pre-school children aged 0-6 years may complete this anonymous survey, which comprises of only 7 questions.