‘Men in Childcare is women’s business’ said a colleague at the first official meeting of the London Men in Childcare Network for 2014 which was held last week. It set the tone as we reviewed the first year of the Network and considered our shared tasks for 2014.
In 2013 we organised the first National Men in Childcare conference in London, won the Nursery World Inclusion Award and presented to the Government All Party Parliamentary Group. We supported colleagues in other parts of England who want to form networks and we made a film to enlighten others about the benefits of having a gender balanced workforce. Not bad going given we have no budget and rely on old–fashioned barter and modern social media. Quite a combination. Read our Men in Childcare report – https://leyf.org.uk/articles/leyf-issue-men-in-childcare-report/
However, the best reason to celebrate was a comment made by a female manager who came along with her new male member of staff. She very movingly said ‘I would not have appointed a male member of staff but for getting involved with the Network. I changed my attitude, my approach to recruitment and the whole way I operate and I am so glad I did.’
That is the outcome we want and it’s needed because two days later I had an email from a Director of a large chain of nurseries asking for support to explain to a Board member why they should support an approach to have more men in childcare.
Men in childcare is good for children, good for staff teams and good for society. Read the LEYF report or my many blogs on the subject , the most recent for the Huffington Post
So, given we agreed that men in childcare is a women’s issue we are launching our video on the week of International Women’s Day because women need to ensure that the workplace is a welcoming place for men to join because it’s good for children.
In the words of Abraham Lincoln:
‘These men ask for just the same thing: fairness, and fairness only.‘