"Why are you here?" The experiences of men who work as midwives

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsInvited talkResearch


It is over 40 years since 28 men were tentatively admitted on to pilot schemes to train as midwives in 1977, with restrictions to men entering the profession fully lifted in 1983. Resistance to this radical change from female midwives was strong with a fear that the advent of men into the profession posed a threat from ‘perverts’ or those seeking male domination by occupying senior posts. In the intervening years, however, there has been no significant increase in the number of men entering the profession, with men currently representing only 0.3% of the midwifery population in the UK, making midwifery perhaps the last almost monogendered profession in the world. Despite being described as ‘the perfect social experiment’, to date there has been no primary research about the experiences of men working as midwives. As one pioneering male stated, ‘the complete absence of data about men in midwifery is surprising in view of the controversy that had surrounded their initial introduction into the profession’. This presentation will explore the gendered history of midwifery and present some initial data from in depth interviews amongst 13 men who have practised midwifery, ranging from early pioneers to those who have been practising for only a year and seeks to understand their experiences and what can be learnt about how men are uniquely gendered when working as an extreme numerical minority.
Period23 Feb 2023
Held atCentre for Health Sciences and Services


  • Midwifery
  • Gender
  • Male Midwives