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A Norwegian Perspective (Erik Hauglund)

(based on presentation given at Men and Childcare Scotland Fringe event during the ENSAC Conference (1998)

Erik Hauglund is an adviser in The Royal Norwegian Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, Department of Family Policy and childcare, Oslo. Child care is on both local and central government agendas in Norway, with the aim of all families having the required care for their children (aged 1 - 10 years) by 2001.

One concern for the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs is the possible long term effect on children in relation to gender equality, growing up in public institutions where the staff are predominantly female, therefore the Ministry has adopted a plan for developing a mixed workforce with a target for 20% of staff working in childcare to be men by 2001.

They are working on several strategies to achieve this aim:

  • survey asking all male students in pre-school education (N = 1000) and a similar number of female students why they chose pre-school education as a workplace, and what their expectations are ;
  • attempting to 'sell' child care as an interesting and exciting place for men to work using young male pre-school teachers in each of the 19 counties. These teachers are working in co-operation with county personnel, with the remit of going into schools, military camps etc, to answer questions about culture, salary etc in childcare and asking them to think about childcare as a possible career option. (A video has also been produced; 'Childcare, an interesting place to be - for men too')
  • distribution of information, and holding seminars and conferences to raise awareness: the Norwegian Government, supported directly by the Prime Minister, planned a conference in 1998 where leaders from the church and defence forces would consider the challenge to say what they can do in relation to the role of men in these sectors. A similar conference will be held in 1999, challenging the care sector (midwives, nurses, pre-school and school age childcare) to consider what they can do to recruit more men, how to keep them, and what might be done when men are absent from these settings. The Ministry also planned to send every childcare institution a pamphlet in 1998 to challenge them to discuss issues relating to men's role in childcare.
  • parental leave; 80% of men in Norway do take parental leave. In the long term, it is hoped that this will work towards changing the male role in relation to childcare.

Percentage of Male Childcare Staff in Norway 1991-1997

 
1991
1993
1995
1997

Educationalists in charge (pedagogues leaders of departments and directors in childcare centres)

411

3.4%

523

3.8%

687

4.6%

748

4.7%

Assistants (not trained as pedagogues)

763

4.0%

1,015

4.4%

1,227

5.0%

1,234

4.5%

Others (some are specially trained pedagogues. Many are caretakers, some are extra help)

1,270

12.0%

1,135

11.0%

1,532

17.8%

1,444

19.5%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


In 1993, 5.8% of all staff were male; in 1995 6.7%, and in 1997 7.4% Male students (3 year courses) in 1998: 14% GOAL: in 2001 20% of staff to be men.