Addressing the gender gap in social care
Of course it is! Women are naturally more caring and historically have done the bulk of the ‘caring role’ so they are therefore naturally more suited to these types of jobs.
I’m playing with you of course! Whilst sadly that is still the view of many, it isn’t a view I share, and it seems that more and more others are also choosing to ignore this viewpoint and venture into a career in social care.
Now before I continue, let me just put it out there that I don’t think men are better in social care roles or equally vice versa. I personally feel and have always had the opinion that much of the success in social care is down to a good match of the worker to the client, irrespective of that person’s gender.
What’s your view?
What I will say though is that I have seen over the years how a specific match of the worker to the client has been of benefit and also where a particular match has been a disaster. I don’t think there are any specific gender rules or age rules for that matter BUT I have interviewed a number of boys and young men over the years who tell me they have benefitted from working with other males, who they felt were not that much older than them and who they could, therefore, relate to.
During two of my pregnancies, I was cared for by a male midwife. Very unusual. He was the senior member of the team and very knowledgeable. I know that other women asked to be removed from his caseload. However, from my point of view, I had the most experienced member of the team in charge of my care and that felt reassuring. When there was a problem during one of the pregnancies he was superb. It was not his gender that was the issue, it was his knowledge and the way he approached his work that was the important factor.
This suggests that there are no rules but also demonstrates that we should be able to offer choice and options to clients. Some people do feel more able to communicate with someone of the same gender and we can’t ignore that as a need.
Women currently make up 82% of the care workforce . There are clearly strong views in society about whose job this is but more and more men are starting to find care work fulfilling and trying to slowly change these views. One thing is for sure, the need for care workers is not going away, especially at the older end of the lifespan in things like dementia care. Along with new graduate schemes trying to attract more men into frontline social work, things are moving forward.
Can you help?
Are you a male who can make a positive difference to the lives of others? Do you have ideas about how you could make a difference? Are you looking for a change in direction? Do you have transferable skills?
Don’t be a sheep – break away from the herd!