On the lead up to International Women’s Day 2018 I began to think about the profession that I have been working in for over twenty years since leaving school. A profession that is notably and largely dominated by women, who work tirelessly to raise educate and shape future generations. It struck me how despite the enormity of our role and responsiblites, the silent message is, women are strong, capable and powerful – except if you work in Early Years?
I say this because instead of our workforce being celebrated for our work ethic, strength and expertise we are still poorly viewed and lowly paid. We wonder why there are so few men in the Early Years, maybe fighting equality isn’t for the faint hearted. And don’t get me started on how we have to contest and argue quality Early Years care and education with people who have never even trained or worked in our profession – imagine the irony of that? In fact, there is even a disparity between different types of Early Years professionals, those that think they only teach and those that know they care and teach! You can even go into a school and find two Early Years professionals doing the same job but being paid a significantly different salary because one is in ‘childcare’ and one is in ‘school’, can you guess which is which?
Why is one of our most important professions paid the least? This article from the New York Times has stayed with me; ‘We treat preschool teachers like babysitters. We want them to ameliorate poverty even as they live in it themselves’. So yes, today is International Womens Day and yes we believe in equality for all. So please can we tell everyone else and do something before it’s too late, because we’re kind of a big deal.