I completely agree with each point Craig Flood makes. While I know that
individual biases (both conscious and subconscious) can influence attitudes
those doing the hiring for early childhood programs, I would like to point
that it is the (male dominated) administrators who are in charge of hiring
processes at schools and who could/should be working on this issue.
the gender balance at the lower grades (increased utilization of men) might
help to adjust the gender imbalance (underutilization of women) at the
grades (and in administration). There is a potential win-win here.
Craig Flood wrote:
To me, this is a critical issue for gender equity advocacy. Just as we
have tried to root out and neutralize messages that discourage girls and
it is imperative that we employ the same vigilance with respect to these
damaging stereotypes about boys and men.
My work in promoting nontraditional careers for females often involved
focusing on the "gatekeepers" in nontraditional training programs, those
instructors and counselors that can have such a dramatic impact on feeling
encouraged or discouraged in that course of study. The disparaging advice
your son describes seems parallel to the messages we have worked so hard to
erase from our daughters lives. They are messages that serve to deny
Who are the "gatekeepers" here and how might we work proactively to address
the "prejudice" you have identified here. This is clearly not an isolated
example; I hear about it frequently. It could be argued that the early
childhood concerns don't carry the sameweight because nontraditional
careers for women are, in large part, about providing economic
self-sufficiency. It is, of course, a hollow if we truly believe that our
goals extend beyond simply access to economic
self-sufficiency. I have always coupled that with the equally important
goal of "well-being" that serve to ground individuals' informed decisions
career and life.
Unfortunately, early childhood education and men don't mix on more than
just the level of concerns expressed to your son. The fact that it is seen
"women's work" and, therefore devalued only compounds the issue of access
viaself-selection for males. There is so much to be gained by openly
advocating an increase of men in early childhood and elementary education.
implicitly part of the conceptual whole of gender equity efforts. In
recognizing it as such, the results of these efforts can only serve to
promote learning environments free of the bias that limits access to
economic self-sufficiency for women and men alike.
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