TIME TO MAN Up
Bold plan to recruit more men into our schools & hospitals
“BLOKE quotas” would be introduced to increase the number of males in our classrooms and hospitals under a push by Australia’s sex equality watchdog.
The Workforce Gender Equality Agency wants affirmative action to bring more manpower to the “caring professions’’ and smash the stereotype that brands teaching and nursing as “women’s work’’.
MORE men will be recruited as teachers and nurses, as Australia’s sex equality watchdog pushes for “bloke quotas” in schools and hospitals.
The Workforce Gender Equality Agency — the federal government body set up to promote gender equality and equal opportunity at work — wants affirmative action to bring more manpower to the “caring professions’’.
Agency director Libby Lyons called for male recruitment targets to smash the “industrial and occupational segregation’’ which brands teaching and nursing as “women’s work’’.
“Set a target,’’ she told The Saturday Telegraph. “That’s how you get cultural change.’’
Ms Lyons, a former teacher, said boys needed male role models in schools, where four out of five primary teachers and 58 per cent of high school teachers are women.
“Until we encourage more men into teaching we’re not going to see little boys feel more secure and thrive as we do little girls,’’ she said.
“There’s no diversity of thought or innovation happening there in the classroom if we are solely relying on females, particularly in primary school.’’
Ms Lyons called on schools and hospitals to mimic the mining and rail industries, which set quotas to hire and promote women — and even banned blokes from applying for some jobs — in an effort to feminise the workforce.
She said children were “like sponges’’ in primary school and picked up on “innuendo and habits and culture’’ from teachers. She did not want any of her future grandchildren “being taught in schools just by women’’.
“I’m a woman. I like things that females like — but also let males project who and what they are as well,” she said.
Ms Lyons also wants more men in nursing, given nine out of 10 nurses are women.
“We need to challenge the norm that says men cannot care,’’ she said.
“Men can care — and do the job as well as women,’’ she said.
State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said he would “like more male teachers in our classrooms’’ but ruled out targets.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said teachers were role models.
“Ideally we would have both men and women providing outstanding examples to boys and girls in their schools,’’ he said.
There’sT no diversity of thought or innovation happening there in the classroom if we are solely relying on females, particularly in primary school Workforce Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons
The concepts of gender quotas and affirmative action for minorities first gained momentum in the 1980s, as ways to increase diversity in male-dominated professions. Combined with societal shifts that have led to more women seeking employment in roles previously associated with men, these concepts have worked extremely well — in fact, perhaps too well.
The gender pendulum has now swung so far that certain employment fields, particularly in what are known as the “caring professions”, are now overwhelmingly dominated by women.
Teaching, especially, is moving towards being a male-free zone.
So once again we’re talking about gender quotas and affirmative action — but this time for blokes.
Workforce Gender Equality Agency director Libby Lyons is leading the charge, pointing out that a better gender balance in teaching is as much about diversity of thought and attitude as it is about a simple mix of women and men.
“My son’s 21 and I don’t want any children he might have being taught just by women,’’ Lyons told The Saturday Telegraph. “There’s no diversity of thought or innova- tion happening there in the classroom if we are solely relying on females, particularly in primary school.”
Herself a former teacher, Lyons is acutely aware of how profound is the influence of educators upon young children.
This influence extends beyond instruction in English and maths.
“Children are like sponges and they learn so much in those primary years,” Lyons observes. “They also pick up on innuendo and habits and the cultures we project.”
That’s why it was a good idea, decades ago, to increase the numbers of women in teaching — and also why it is a good idea to now increase the number of male teachers.
It’s all a question of balance, aiming at a better outcome for all students. As Lyons puts it: “Until we encourage more men into teaching, particularly primary teaching, we’re not going to see little boys feel more secure and thrive as we do little girls.’’
Additionally, the Workforce Gender Equality Agency is pushing for more men to become involved in professions generally thought of as predominantly female domains, such as nursing and childcare.
Let’s knock down those gender barriers, gentlemen. Equality now!
Trainee teacher Domenic Badolato.
Trainee teacher Domenic Badolato with Peter, 6, Georgia, 6, and Madeleine, 6, at St Paul of the Cross Catholic Primary School. Picture: Justin Lloyd