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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.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender Issues in Care Work in Europe Claire Cameron and Peter Moss Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender Issues in Care Work in Europe Claire Cameron and Peter Moss Thomas Coram Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London

2 Care Work in Europe 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

3 Doing the study 1.Mapping the care workforce; surveying use and demand for care services; reviewing literature on quality, job satisfaction and gender issues 2.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 of video-based method for cross-national study of practice in care work (SOPHOS) 3. Innovative practice (36 examples); dissemination

4 Profile of care workers 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

5 The Danish pedagogue 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

6 Gender of care workers 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

7 Male workers in CWE 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)

8 National policies 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

9 Explanations Low salaries are not attractive to men? Care work is naturally womens work? Education and employment assume women students and workers

10 What do care workers say about gender issues? 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

11 A matter of choice 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

12 A matter of assisting women workers Looking after technical equipment Using their physical strength to lift, or deal with confused or aggressive people

13 A matter of gender equality in workplaces Longstanding discourse of equality in DK, SE Also a matter of diversity – more minority ethnic workers needed too

14 Barriers to change? 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

15 A matter of recognizing difference? Men have a higher threshold Men do something else Men have a different kind of energy Adjust the way work is done

16 Its great. I think we should have men. They do something else. When I play football with the boys, which I seldom do because it doesnt interest me, I find it hard. So its completely different when X [male assistant] does it. Hes a big joker. Theres no one can make a fire like him. You can get sissy fires, but his fires are definitely macho ones.

17 I imagine it could be quite horrible (to be the only male worker)…We are supposed to have two so that at least they can keep each other company a little…But we are also women and the way we try and work around that is by also taking on some of those things. By me climbing trees too. Well, the last time we went out in the woods, about 14 days ago, we were out to catch tadpoles. Well didnt I crawl out on to the tree trunk out over the lake!…I suddenly noticed a very quiet audience of children at the [lake] edge. I think that they simply began to feel nervous because, if I fell in, what would happen to them?

18 A matter of following stereotypes? 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

19 A matter of individual difference? Adult security more important than gender difference You cannot generalize about men and women – need to be versatile and an all- rounder

20 What changes can be made? 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

21 Further Reading Cameron, C., Moss, P and Owen, C. (1999) Men in the Nursery: Gender and caring work, Paul Chapman Care work in Europe website Briefing paper Introducing pedagogy into the childrens workforce Rolfe, H. (2005) Men in Childcare: 5%20full%20report.pdf 5%20full%20report.pdf

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