Monday, August 1, 2011

The glass ceiling...

I'd just recently had this conversation with a mate and a recent newspaper article looking at gender equality in education has further prompted a bit of thinking...

At the esteemed University I attended I remember a lecturer commenting on how nearly 80% of the faculty lecturers were male despite the overall gender balance of the ECEC sector being embarrassingly dominated by women.

It still is. The glass ceiling is built from white middle-class hegemonic power and remains effective in preventing women from attaining the higher positions in the education field. So despite there being almost no men teaching ECEC, they still rule the roost.

Our system is designed by men and its structures and processes reinforce their dominance. The National government has canned the employment equity commission despite widespread public concern of gender inequality in the workplace…. Surprised? What's happening in the Dept of Women's Affairs? Nothing. The new-right do not like the idea of special rules or extra help for those systemically disadvantaged. They prattle on about 'equality of access and opportunity' as though we all come from the same background and bring with us the social and cultural privileges of patriarchy. The game is loaded from the start.

Many years ago ECEC students used to actively study about the absence of men in their sector. It was the lack of professional status, all those feminists, the low pay, the sense of being slightly dodgy in doing 'women's work' that suggests 'queer' which of course equals 'pervert', and after the Peter Ellis tragedy you'd essentially have to be fucking mad to want to work in ECEC...

But there are men and the numbers are growing, yet despite overcoming so many challenges it seems that most of them get reclaimed by the brotherhood...

And we can do just what about this? Refuse a promotion? Hold no desires to excel in this field? Of course not, but we (men) can work to dismantle hierarchical power structures and the notion of competition as the basis of relationships. Co-operation, collaboration, mutual-aid etc, may be derided as feminine attributes and one more reason why we need more masculine male role models in ECEC, but fuck it, there is a better way.

1 comment:

ivorytowerkiwi said...

Something interesting is going to happen to the glass ceiling sooner or later. If it still exists for new academics and lecturers, tutors, it's going to become the massive elephant above the room. The majority of people graduating today are female, and this majority is increasing. New generations of tutors are going to be picked from these graduates...blatant male favouritism is going to be made more blatant.

Of course, when there are fewer women who are doctors and engineers there is plenty of concern. But little concern about fewer men who are nurses and ECE teachers!