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Gender and professionalism: a critical analysis of overt and covert curricula

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Since many decades, scholars in the field of early childhood education deplore the gender segregation in the caring professions. Research and experiments so far show that it may take decades of multiple actions to overcome the gender divide in the caring workforce. However, research that includes the voices of men in child care is rather recent, scarce and involves only very small samples of male carers. Therefore little is known about the students' perspectives on how the gendered culture of the profession is transmitted through overt or covert curricula and how this may affect them. We present three studies that may begin to unveil how future male carers are affected by both overt and covert gendered curricula. The first study interviewed 30 students in initial training, while the second study involved 16 men in adult education for caring professions. The third study examined 1635 pages of textbooks. The studies show how both overt and covert curricula affect younger students more than their adult colleagues. The results also indicate some ways forward.

Keywords: Child Care; Curriculum; Gender; Training; Workforce

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Gent University, Belgium

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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