Pressure on labour-supply has rekindled concern about the low participation of men in early childhood education and care (ECEC) and public debate about the ‘appropriateness’ and ‘value’ of male educators in these settings. We examined this issue from the perspective of all staff (N = 23), in two Australian ECEC centres employing a male educator. A diversity lens framed analysis, providing a contemporary and inclusive account of male educators as members of the teaching team rather than as gender-anomalies in the workforce. Staff identified male educators as assets with their value extending beyond symbolic salience as men in a feminized workplace. Men’s pedagogical contribution was described as related to employment role, not gender identity. Distinct benefits to productivity and relationships were reported. From the perspective of those inside gender diversity enhanced workplace (relationships) and work productivity (quality); low participation of men presents an opportunity-cost that extends beyond simply increasing the workforce pool.
Thorpe, K., Sullivan, V., Jansen, E., McDonald, P., Sumsion, J., & Irvine, S. (2020). A man in the centre: Inclusion and contribution of male educators in early childhood education and care teaching teams. Early Child Development and Care, 190(6), 921-934. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2018.1501564