This paper explores the impact of gender on the employment of men in early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres through the voices of male and female early childhood teachers (ECTs) working in China. Gender imbalance in the ECEC workforce is a global phenomenon, and there has been little research about it in countries such as China. This study was based on online interviews with 16 ECTs from three major cities in China. Findings indicated that ECTs’ perceptions conformed largely with traditional gender stereotypes in Chinese culture. Western expectations that men’s participation in ECEC could challenge traditional gender stereotypes and promote gender diversity were not reflected in either Chinese academic literature reviewed or the participants’ views captured in this research. The appreciation of masculinity in Chinese culture and implied disadvantages are considered within a global context of empowering women and girls.
- early childhood education and care
- male early childhood teachers