Debate on gender bias

We asked:- Is gender bias alive and kicking when it
comes to promotion to the top jobs in social care or is the notion

These are some of the comments we received.

“Men might predominate in the upper echelons of social care
while women make up most of the workforce. But my experience as a
single male job seeker suggests that prejudice works against men
too in ‘traditionally female settings’.

In 1991, aged 37, I was on a government-funded training course
aimed at working with under-5s. As the only single male [and Quaker
Meeting crèche rota volunteer and uncle six times over], I was
the last to be offered a work placement on a very time-limited
course that started that February. The first nursery I visited for
an interview told the training company’s placements officer
before my interview: “We’re dead keen to take on more male
students because of our Equal Opportunities policy.” After the
interview they told her, “We’ve changed our minds: a male
student would require too much supervision.”

My second interview before Easter break gave me two months of
one day-per-week at a college nursery, starting late April [i.e.
after Easter]. That college nursery’s manager told the
placements officer, “He’s an excellent male role model to
small children.”

At the end of term and 100% of 200 hours course attendance, it
was back to the dole queue and a woman clerk who discouraged
volunteering and sentenced me to Job Club attendance – despite a
basic training certificate to build on!

Fourteen years later, perhaps the legislation-led checks for
workers with vulnerable people can serve as a great leveller?

In June 2004 with CRB Enhanced Clearance in hand from June 2003,
I became a basic skills learner support volunteer for adults with
learning difficulties. In February 2005, my prospective employer is
paying for my Pova and refreshed CRB Enhanced Clearance checks
toward my starting paid work helping adults with learning
difficulties gain greater independence.

No such checks existed when and where the unspoken,
tabloid-driven question was, “What would a childless single male
want to do with other people’s children?””

Alan Wheatley

“I felt sad when I read Beatrix Campbell’s article. Sad that
10 years after I went through my own hard times nothing seems to
have changed in local government cultures.

There are a few significant beacon authorities, but they are the
exception rather than the rule.

For my part,  I’ve since chosen a career path outside and am
happy for that. The waste of talent which this gender bias causes
continues to be paid for by council tax payers and service

When will it ever end?”

Esther McLaughlin


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