- Language Tips
In recent years, men have been entering professions that have traditionally been regarded as women's work.
Li Dabin, 39, with a master's degree, used to be a teacher in a college in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region in South China. But last year he quit the job to learn postnatal care and train to be a maternity matron, which encompasses the role of nanny, nurse, cook and pre-school teacher.
In recent years, men have been entering professions that have traditionally been regarded as women's work. [Photo/Xinhua]
"Actually, I wanted to be a nanny nine years ago when my child was born. I think children can benefit from a male nanny's energy in a family. Men have an irreplaceable role in children's development," he said.
Having finished his training, he has now set up his own domestic services company. Last year, he conducted some research in local communities in Kunming, Yunnan province, and found that there was a large demand for domestic workers, especially quality service providers.
"The standards of domestic service in China are rather uneven. The education level of nannies is generally not that high," he said.
"I can see a promising future in this industry," he added.
Li expects to receive his certification and officially start his career early next year. However, he does not know if the market is ready to accept a male maternity matron.
"But I believe in my professional skills and that there will be someone who will want to hire me," Li said.
He may find it hard going, though.
"It's unusual for a man to take care of a new-born baby and the mother," said one woman in Kunming called Chen Yi.
But others think some families will be more open to hiring a male nanny.
"It might work for some families, especially a single mother or a family with a boy," said a woman surnamed Liu.
"When a family needs a nanny, they look for one that will fit the family. The gender is less important," said Liang Yun, deputy director of the Hunan Domestic Service Association. "Ultimately they will want someone who is qualified, dedicated, and can do the job well."