Original Research - Topical Collection: Troubling normative constructions in careers

Troubling gender norms: Reflections of two male early childhood teacher educators

Vusi Msiza, Obakeng Kagola
African Journal of Career Development | Vol 5, No 1 | a85 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajcd.v5i1.85 | © 2023 Vusi Msiza, Obakeng Kagola | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 April 2023 | Published: 01 September 2023

About the author(s)

Vusi Msiza, Department of Early Childhood Education, School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pinetown, South Africa
Obakeng Kagola, Department of Primary School, Faculty of Education, Nelson Mandela University, Gqeberha, South Africa


Background: Early childhood education (ECE) in South Africa and globally continues to present low numbers of male teachers. However, studies have highlighted the importance of having men in children’s lives in the schooling context. However, getting men into the early years comes with various challenges, including those that relate to men choosing teaching as a career and, in particular, negotiating the gendered norms. Therefore, it is important to understand the reflections of men in the early years of teaching.

Objectives: This self-reflective paper reflects on the authors experiences as young men becoming early childhood teacher educators in two South African higher education institutions.

Method: This qualitative study employed self-reflexive methodologies and narratives to show how the author have negotiated the normative constructions of gender in ECE.

Results: The authors found that even though institutions of higher education are vehicles for transformation, there are historical and contextual gendered norms that perpetuate inequalities. They also found that the inequalities may contribute to the recruitment, retainment and resignation of men in ECE teaching.

Conclusion: The paper suggests the need for conversations on transforming gender relations among staff and students within ECE disciplines.

Contribution: The gendered inequalities experienced by male teacher educators demonstrate a need to revisit career development approaches for teacher education in South Africa.


early childhood education (ECE); gender regime; masculinities; self-reflexive; teacher education.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality


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