Would you hire a male nanny?

The Nanny Line is an online, international nanny agency, which aims to match nannies with families to ensure a positive experience for all. CEO and Founder, Josi Ogtrop Sambou, spent much of her life working in both child care and social care positions. Just two years ago, she began The Nanny Line as a passionate personal project, setting out to make high-quality child care accessible to all families. The Nanny Line is somewhat of a lifeline for many expatriate families to have moved to Barcelona and its surroundings, and may not speak the language or have many connections. Thanks to Kelly Lindsey Abel of The Nanny Line for this guest blog post. 

Even if I hadn’t worked in childcare for the best part of the last decade, it still would have been impossible for me to ignore the complete lack of male colleagues and childcare workers in this sector. Why, in such an ostensibly progressive society, is this still the case? This bias against male childcare workers is also a bias against females – assuming each gender their place in society, and dictating for whom which career is more fitting.

As bookings role in, we still find ourselves hesitating before offering our fantastic male nannies to certain families for fear of their reaction. At The Nanny Line, all of our nannies and ‘mannies’ are carefully screened, checked and interviewed so there is absolutely no plausible reason why we should be at all reluctant to offer a particular employee solely because of their gender.

Recently however, it seems attitudes towards male nannies are changing fast, which can only be positive. People are beginning to let up on the bias that a career in childcare is only for women. As an agency, we find ourselves with some kind of power to try to change this. By hiring only the best male and female nannies, we hope that families will start to judge their prospective nanny solely on their abilities to provide a good service for their children and family, and not on their gender.

Childcare isn’t the sole domain of women and, contrary to common belief, male childcare workers are not engaging in some kind of strange role-reversal. Of course, there are so many benefits to hiring a female nanny. Due to high demand, they usually have more experience than men do. But equally there are a number of qualified, passionate and caring male childcare workers who are completely trustworthy. It is also very likely that they will be super motivated to fulfil job expectations, as is often the case with the first stream of men entering a traditionally female profession.

The ultimate goal is to always select a care giver on experience, qualifications and personality, but there are obviously reasons why a male nanny might be better suited to a family than a female nanny in certain cases.

It really is quite simple – if you want your child to be taught how to knit, then choose your nanny based on their knitting ability, not their gender. Alternatively, if you want your child to learn how to chop wood and make a fire, then choose your nanny based on these skills, and not their gender. Each family just has to decide which candidate fits their child’s needs the best. Putting aside the issue of gender completely can be difficult, but your focus should be on how this person will positively affect your child and their development and, essentially, how much fun they will have together!

Normalising the role of a male nanny can only be a good thing for men and women. It is the clearest example for their children of how male and female roles are no longer defined by their gender. Male nannies give children a clear message that childcare is not necessarily a path taken only by women.

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