Wellington - New Zealand’s early childhood education system is one of the most sexist in the world with far too few men teaching in the sector and the Government has no immediate plans to correct the imbalance.

This does not surprise Dr Sarah Farquhar, whose Massey University research in 1997 first revealed problems for the early childhood education sector of men not being encouraged into teaching and supported to remain in teaching.

“Unfortunately our political leaders continue to fail when it comes to showing leadership on this matter. There seem to be closed minds on the issue of men being involved in early childhood teaching.”

Anyone with young children knows that male teachers are extremely rare in early childhood education. Unitec Lecturer Alex Williams has been looking at why this gender imbalance still exists, and talked to the men brave enough to be in this minority.

The lack of men in early childhood education (ECE) was an issue Unitec ECE Lecturer Alex Williams noticed right away when he moved into the sector. “As soon as I started visiting students out in the field, for me the question was huge: ‘Where are all the men?’ You go into any early childhood centre and you’re unlikely to see a man. For me it was profound,” he says.

Williams − who was a primary school teacher before moving into tertiary teaching 12 years ago − believes research in this area needs to be highlighted. “That initial exposure to ECE and the realisation that it’s a highly gendered profession where men are largely invisible was what originally sparked my interest,” he says. “But I also wanted to start a process of reframing early childhood education as a positive, meaningful, enjoyable and socially significant career for men.”

7- 8 March 2014

Wellington, NZ

Conference Theme:
Lifting the Lid on Gender Issues in Early Childhood Education

The first Summit in 1997 brought together teachers, ECE service leaders, researchers, tertiary educators, politicians and policy advisers to deliberate on the problem of a low presence of men in early childhood teaching.  Following this tradition, the 8th EC-Menz Summit will have a strong political purpose along with looking at new projects and initiatives, and providing presentations on various issues of gender in early childhood teacher education, employment and working conditions, teacher’s work, boy’s and girl’s learning, children’s educational achievement, childcare practices, including all parents in ECE settings, etc.

Te Whānau   March 2013                                                                                                   EC-MENz  Incorporated

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

A special welcome to you all, and those who have travelled across our land from all around New Zealand.

So one year on – what has changed.  This time last year when we met in Whanganui, we left with a sense of purpose and some ideas of where we as an organisation were headed. We had a great time networking, sharing ideas and some great connections were made.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013 20:03 | Written by ChildForum

In June 2013 ChildForum wrote to the NZ Education Minister explaining why it is important for children, the ECE profession, and our society for men to be represented in early childhood teaching work and asking if she had been advised of the continuing problem and what actions Government may be planning to put into place to address this.