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We Need More Men in Children's Lives, Women Have Done Their Part (Opinion)

Like any millennial in this fast-paced world where one changes jobs like clothes, I have had my fair share of employers. In all places I have worked and volunteered to work, one trend has stood out- the extreme shortage of men working in the early childhood development sector. Sadly, this trend continues to grow by the day. Only drastic changes can remedy the dire state of affairs.

Culturally, women have gravitated towards taking centre stage in caregiving. The ripple effect has seen more women than men pursuing careers that involve interacting with children. The Early Childhood Education (ECD) sector is a prime example where male teachers are very rare. In no way detracting the excellent work done by women in nurturing children, it is time more men joined the few present in this noble task of raising children.

Research shows that high-equality and regular male participation in caring for children has a long-lasting positive impact on child development. These benefits eventuate in all facets of life- cognitive, emotional, and physical.

Documented evidence also shows that men's involvement in ECD offers social benefits like creating a safe space for fathers to be more open and eager to get a chance to witness men caring for children and playing roles like comforting the young ones and changing nappies. These go a long way in elucidating gender roles entrenched in most societies.

Various barriers come to mind when one considers why few men choose to pursue a career in ECD. Pay and job prestige top this list. The fact that society offers very little recognition and very-low pay to workers in the ECD sector means that men, who predominantly prefer pursuing careers with prospects of higher earnings, prestige, and opportunities for advancement, opt to pursue careers that offer the goodies.

Unfortunately, a quick fix cannot be applied to remedy the current situation. Prioritisation of policies like the two-thirds gender rule in hiring people working in the ECD sector and enrolling students in courses that lead to careers in the ECD sector can be applied, but this time targeting men. This will ensure that men get opportunities to train in these fields hence get jobs in the ECD sectors.

It is also a high time those working in the ECD sector were remunerated well and accorded respect as they work towards raising the next generation.

In a nutshell, a good place to start would be at home. Men should find ways to be more involved in the life of the little ones around them, whether as fathers, uncles, brothers, grandfathers, cousins, or neighbours. They should take time to talk to them, walk with them, play with them, read stories to them, cook with them or watch sports with them. The results will be astonishing.

Content created and supplied by: @TonyOwuor (via Opera News )

ECD Early Childhood Education

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