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Earlier 2016 I attended the 1st National Men In Childcare conference. It was a fantastic day and a lot of interesting debates and ideas were thrown around. However, at the end of the day during the questions and answers with the panel of 'leaders in their field' it all became meaningless.

The panel were scared to to discuss the gender differences with men and women child carers. They all said that their is no difference between a male or female child care practitioner if they were trained properly. and that the only goal of increasing the <2% male early years force was to increase the pool of human resource to employ from.

Now I know this is twaddle as I work in a nursery and see clearly the way children react to me and the other males than they do to the females. Also Men talk differently to children. Even if we all behaved and treated the children the same the children would project gender identities onto us as they see in society.

I understand that we are seeing this new age gender neutral society emerging and that we mustn't project gender stereotypes onto children but this doesn't detract from what children see themselves and how they relate to the people in their environments.

We must allow children to feel comfortable with their carers and allow their carers to be themselves and not act a role. We must role model diversity and inclusion and show children that we are a crazy myriad of social and cultural diversity and they will learn to identify the character traits and develop skills to sort social groups and to understand and empathise with people in their environments.

 

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