MINNEAPOLIS) – MenTeach has announced for the first time in United States history, the percentage of men working in child care has increased to 6.3%. Since the 1970s the percentages have ranged from 2.1% to 5.9% but has only been above the 6% threshold once in 1975 at 6.2% (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Education and care of young children has been predominantly the work of women keeping the percentage of males in the field stagnant.
According to Bryan G. Nelson, Director of MenTeach, “This increase is a significant change in our profession and perhaps society.” He goes on to add, “There seems to be a shift that more men want to work with young children and that we may be seeing a change in attitudes. And this means that parents are more likely to see a man caring for their baby or young child now.”
In one study out of Harvard University, the great majority (97.9%) of survey participants in the education field strongly agree or agree: It’s important for men to work with young children. The data further showed that there were three primary reasons men did not enter nor remain in the profession: 1) Stereotypes – some believe that men aren’t capable of caring for young children; 2) Fear of False Accusations – men worry they may be falsely accused of harming children; 3) Low status and low pay – like many predominantly female professions, child care can be low pay and status.
Despite these challenges, more men work with young children reflecting some interesting changes in the last several years that may be influencing this upward trend. Historically, the percentage of men working in education increase with two key factors: Economic downturns and education incentives. During the late 1920s during the Depression, large numbers of men turned to teaching and after World War II and the Vietnam War when the U.S. Congress enacted and expanded what was called the Montgomery GI Bill.
For more information on the data visit www.MenTeach.org. To interview men who recently began working in childcare please contact us.