Target: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
Goal: Applaud the German government for encouraging men to become child care workers
The German government has started recruiting men to become child care workers, partly because of German parents’ preference for having both men and women take care of their children. The primary reason for this change is the increased demand for child care workers due to a new law that guarantees day care for every German child. Even though the intention may not be to promote gender equality in a profession overwhelmingly dominated by women, the result is the same.
Encouraging men to join a profession that requires traits such as compassion and nurturing is a step forward in Germany, as it would be in many other Western countries that have traditionally viewed child rearing as women’s work. Germany should be applauded for seeing through this stereotype and entrusting men with the vital duty of caring for young children.
Although the main reason that the German government is having trouble recruiting male child care workers is the low pay, in other Western countries male child care workers encounter immediate suspicion from parents. The belief that children are better off being raised by women is damaging to men, women, and to children. This belief keeps women focused on raising children, preventing them from thriving in male-dominated professions. It hurts men because it denies them the opportunity to experience the joy of raising their own children, or taking care of other children professionally. Finally, it eliminates potential role models from children’s lives.
In many Western countries, men make up a very small percentage of early childhood educators even though there is no reason to believe that they are inherently less nurturing than women. It has become socially acceptable for women to enter into male-dominated professions, but the reverse is not nearly as common. The only way to combat sexist stereotypes about gendered professions is to encourage everyone to find and follow their calling, regardless of which gender dominates the field.
The German government has taken steps to ensure that all children receive child care by recruiting men to join the female-dominated profession, a change that will have positive effects on men, women, and children in Germany. It represents a shift in the way Western cultures perceive gender, and could inspire other countries like the United States to question the gender makeup of certain professions. Germany should be applauded for challenging gender stereotypes and making children’s welfare the priority.
Dear Chancellor Merkel,
I am writing to applaud the German government for recruiting men for jobs in the child care field. Many parents prefer to have their children looked after by both women and men, and children deserve to be exposed to the best role models, whether they are male or female.
This is a step forward for gender equality and has the potential to influence other Western countries with widespread gender stereotypes about childrearing. A man who hopes to become a positive influence for future generations should be encouraged to follow that dream without fear of being seen as a predator.
It is commendable that the German government is making child care for all children a priority, instead of letting gender stereotypes prevent German citizens from doing what is best for children and families. Hopefully this will motivate other countries to follow your example and begin trusting men to care for young children professionally.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: msittig via Flickr.