ISSA Director stresses need for gender diversity in the workforce

July 13, 2017

Diversity in the early years workforce improves the profession and its impact on children. One goal to be achieved in terms of diversity in the workforce is to include more men in the profession.

Liana Ghent, Executive Director of International Step By Step Association in the Netherlands, spoke at the annual MenCare conference organized by The Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) MenEngage Platform, to promote the idea of men taking on more prominent roles as equal caregivers to the young. During her presentation, she highlighted the importance of men’s involvement in the development of young children. Mrs. Ghent highlighted the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative and its work to promote more men in the workforce. She sighted two main reasons for the increase of men in the workforce, from the early years stand point. First, the higher participation of men in caregiving roles would raise the status of the profession and lead to increasing the salary as well. Second, equal caregiving promotes both men and women as positive role models and counteracts inequalities that children may see at home.

Of men’s roles, Mrs. Ghent said, “There is significant evidence from research about the benefits of fathers being engaged in supporting young children’s development and learning. Awareness is also growing on the benefits of having a more gender-balanced workforce in early years services. As an example, if more men were to work in pre-schools, children would benefit from more diversity in role models and caring styles. This would also contribute to challenging gender stereotypes.”

You can watch the full presentation and panel discussion here.