Did you know that only about a skinny 1 percent of preschool and kindergarten teachers are male? For decades, women have been encouraged to go into STEM (for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), which is a great move but why aren't we encouraging more men to follow the equally important HEED (for Healthcare, Early Education, and Domestic Work) careers?

While aiming for parity in STEM fields is a very important goal, why is the same not happening in HEED jobs in order to close the gap wherein women are so critically underrepresented? An unrecognized deficiency that shortchanges everyone.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of postsecondary education is about 50/50 female/male but, incredibly, only around 1% of preschool and kindergarten teachers are men. In the healthcare profession, women represent 80% of psychologists, nearly 90% of child, family, and social workers, and 88% of nurse practitioners.

In a 2018 University of British Columbia research article, Katharina Block, Alyssa Croft and Toni Schmader declared that "On the one hand, men devalue care-oriented occupations (e.g., teaching or nursing) as personal career paths. But in addition, those men and women who do choose healthcare, early education, and domestic roles are afforded both lower status and lower salaries… HEED occupations are not simply unpopular career choices among men, they are also generally devalued in society."

In fact, there is nothing inherently "womanly" related to any so-called women's work. Nursing and teaching activities were even once exclusively reserved for men. The ridiculous contemporary idea according to which essential jobs that require years of education and training define their practitioners as surrogate mothers prevents everybody - male or female - from going forward. Starting with our children.

Picture: CDSA Preschool (Wikimedia Commons, w/Effects)