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'Why don't we recognise the importance of men in care professions?'

Why don’t more men specialise in care? (Credits: Getty Images)

Why don’t more men specialise in care? (Credits: Getty Images)© Provided by Metro

Why are there so few men entering the caring professions in the UK?

One reader says that the UK lags behind where Sweden was 50 years ago. In the 1960s, he recalls seeing male nannies in parks as they trained to be nannies and nursery nurses, but it seems different in the UK today. Is it stigma, low pay, lack of interest, or a societal perception that men aren’t seen as caregivers?

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'Males, generally, are still not being valued as carers.'

It was good to read about Ike Robin’s experience in training to become a ‘manny’ at the prestigious Norland College for nannies (Metro, Wed).

This had me reflecting on how slow Britain is in recognising the importance of males in the caring professions and, for that matter, the importance of fathers in bringing up their children.

In the late 1960s, I lived in Sweden. There, we would regularly see young men in the parks with small children as part of their training to be nursery workers.

Yet, when my own two older boys were at a nursery in the early 1990s, having a male nursery worker was so rare that when one appeared for a month from an agency, the boys in the nursery were still talking about him six months later.

Ike Robin trained as a ‘manny’ at the prestigious Norland College for nannies and loves it!© Provided by Metro

The importance of males in the caring professions is undervalued. I have spent 40 years as a social worker and 30 years as a psychologist and, in both, I was always in a significant minority.

As a father of four boys, I chose to share care with my wife and while seeing fathers at the school gates is better than when my children were small, fathers still often find themselves isolated. 

At one time I even had to take an employer to court who was trying to force me to work full-time when I said no because I wanted to look after my children.

Britain still has a long way to go to recognise the importance of fathers – they often still have to fight hard within the family courts to gain even 50 per cent custody. Males, generally, as carers are still not being as valued as they were in, for example, Scandinavia more than 50 years ago.

Kevin, Streatham: Story by Letters Editor: Metro 

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