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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 to contribute to the development of good quality employment in care work in services that are responsive to needs of changing societies Care 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); dissemination Doing the study
Highly gendered (% women highest with children and elderly) Mostly 25-44 (like total workforce) - but no information on % with own care responsibilities Often (not always) low paid Mostly specialist Career prospects usually limited – vertically and horizontally Profile of care workers
High level of education 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 horizontal The 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 ¼ Gender of care workers
Case study of work with young children 2/36 (2 DK, 0 HU, 0 ES) 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, Denmark National policies
Low salaries are not attractive to men? Care work is ‘naturally’ ‘women’s work’? Education and employment assume women students and workers Explanations
A matter of choice for clients/ service users A matter of assisting women workers A matter of gender equality in workplaces A matter of improving/challenging the kind of ‘care’ on offer What do care workers say about gender issues?
For elderly people and their personal care 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 genders A matter of choice
Looking after technical equipment Using their physical strength to lift, or deal with confused or aggressive people A matter of assisting women workers
Longstanding discourse of equality in DK, SE Also a matter of diversity – more minority ethnic workers needed too A matter of gender equality in workplaces
Male care workers are ‘unmanly’ 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 care Barriers to change?
Men have a higher threshold Men do something else Men have a different kind of energy Adjust the way work is done A 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 Or perhaps 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 You cannot generalize about men and women – need to be versatile and an all-rounder A matter of individual difference?
Sustained, funded localised initiatives seem to be working 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 isolation What 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/ Briefing paper http://k1.ioe.ac.uk/tcru/Ped_BRIEFING_PAPER.pdf 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.pdf Further Reading