Gender Issues in Care Work in Europe. Claire Cameron and Peter Moss Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. EC funded 2001 - 2005 6 Partners Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and UK Main objective
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Claire Cameron and Peter Moss
Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London
Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and UK
to contribute to the development of good quality employment in care work in services that are responsive to needs of changing societiesCare Work in Europe
Mapping the care workforce; surveying use and demand for care services; reviewing literature on quality, job satisfaction and gender issues
Three cross-national case studies of work:
with young children (HU, DK, SP);
with older people (SW, ENG, SP + HU);
with adults with severe disabilities (DK, NE, SW)
Development ofvideo-based method for cross-national study of practice in care work (SOPHOS)
3. Innovative practice (36 examples); disseminationDoing the study
Mostly 25-44 (like total workforce) - but no information on % with own care responsibilities
Often (not always) low paid
Career prospects usually limited – vertically and horizontallyProfile of care workers
Less gendered – 25% male in some services
Better pay (and other conditions)
Generalist - work with people from 0 to 100; main worker with children, young people and younger adults
Broad career prospects - vertical and horizontalThe Danish pedagogue
LFS for DK, ES, SE & UK: between 86% and 99% of workers with elderly people and with very young children are women.
More male workers with older children and adults
Very few with elderly people or very young children
Same pattern but higher proportion of male workers in Denmark – up to ¼Gender of care workers
Case study with people with severe disabilities 12/43 (6 DK, 2 SE, 4 N)
Case study of work with elderly people 12/54 (5 SE, 4 EN, 3 ES)Male workers in CWE
England: target of 6% as part of childcare diversity targets – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
Norway: target of 20% preschool teachers recently reaffirmed
Local initiatives in Belgium, Scotland, England, Norway, DenmarkNational policies
Low salaries are not attractive to men? – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
Care work is ‘naturally’ ‘women’s work’?
Education and employment assume women students and workersExplanations
A matter of choice for clients/ service users – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
A matter of assisting women workers
A matter of gender equality in workplaces
A matter of improving/challenging the kind of ‘care’ on offerWhat do care workers say about gender issues?
For elderly people and their personal care – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
To extend the repertoire of conversation to include ‘male’ interests
For people with disabilities to meet and be together, to have staff role models of btoh gendersA matter of choice
Looking after technical equipment – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
Using their physical strength to lift, or deal with confused or aggressive peopleA matter of assisting women workers
Longstanding discourse of equality in DK, SE – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
Also a matter of diversity – more minority ethnic workers needed tooA matter of gender equality in workplaces
Male care workers are ‘unmanly’ – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
Female workers are ‘natural’
Care work does not pay enough for a family wage
No specific strategies to promote male workers in elder care or adult careBarriers to change?
Men have a higher threshold – dropped in favour of ‘more diversity’
Men do something else
Men have a different kind of energy
Adjust the way work is doneA matter of recognizing difference?
It’s great. I think we should have men. They do something else. When I playfootball with the boys, which I seldom do because it doesn’t interest me, I find ithard. So it’s completely different when X [male assistant] does it. He’s a bigjoker. There’s no one can make a fire like him. You can get sissy fires, but hisfires are definitely macho ones.
I imagine it could be quite horrible (to be the only male worker)…We aresupposed to have two so that at least they can keep each other company alittle…But we are also women and the way we try and work around that is by alsotaking on some of those things. By me climbing trees too. Well, the last time wewent out in the woods, about 14 days ago, we were out to catch tadpoles. Welldidn’t I crawl out on to the tree trunk out over the lake!…I suddenly noticed avery quiet audience of children at the [lake] edge. I think that they simply beganto feel nervous because, if I fell in, what would happen to them?
Men are more business like, women deal in tenderness worker)…We are
Men who go into care work are different?
They cite their professional competencies
They have ‘soft’ values – need to be caring, are ‘special people’A matter of following stereotypes?
Adult security more important than gender difference worker)…We are
You cannot generalize about men and women – need to be versatile and an all-rounderA matter of individual difference?
Sustained, funded localised initiatives seem to be working worker)…We are
Ask not what keeps women in but what keeps men out?
Adjust organisation and content of training programmes, re-examine content of work, local networks to avoid isolationWhat changes can be made?
Cameron, C., Moss, P and Owen, C. (1999) Men in the Nursery: Gender and caring work, Paul Chapman
Care work in Europe website http://22.214.171.124/carework/
Introducing pedagogy into the children’s workforce http://k1.ioe.ac.uk/tcru/Introducing%20Pedagogy.pdf
Rolfe, H. (2005) Men in Childcare: http://www.eoc.org.uk/PDF/men%20in%20childcarewp%2035%20full%20report.pdfFurther Reading