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Men-only support spaces in early years education: a step towards a gender diverse or a gender divided workforce?

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Gender and Education
Issue number4
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)478-493
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date26/10/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Currently, 3% of the early year's education workforce is male, a figure that has remained stubbornly resistant to change over the last four decades. Research has shown that support is key to increasing the number of male employees in this sector. In recent years, there has been an increase in the demand for male-only support activities, such as men-only training courses, or support groups. Whilst these methods are popular in order to establish gender-diverse workforces, an inherent danger is that single-sex support can exacerbate binary thinking and entrench gender differences. This paper explores the role of single-sex support in gender diversifying the early year's workforce and asks when, and for whom, such spaces may be effective or valuable. The discussion is based on data collected during the GenderEYE project, which aimed to look at strategies for, and understandings about, the recruitment and support of male early childhood education professionals.