Striking early childhood educators are raising issues that affect all of us. They must be supported

It’s paid badly precisely because women do it

The now decade old EOC research found that one of the reasons work traditionally done by women is undervalued is precisely because it is done by women, and, therefore, closely associated with stereotypical ideas about women in caring roles. The women in these jobs are perceived as ‘naturally’ good at the job, with insufficient investment in or recognition of their skills.

And the report highlighted that when a profession previously dominated by men, such as banking, clerical work or teaching, is opened-up to large numbers of women, the status and pay decreases. Working in a female dominated occupation is more detrimental to your pay than being a woman per se – simply being employed in a female dominated occupation can reduce your pay by as much as 9 percent.

This is the quite simple point the striking early childhood educators are trying to make. And they are right. This kind of thinking about the work that women do and the industries where they are overrepresented is a significant driver of the remaining pay gap.

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