There are more than 40,000 registered midwives in the UK and 188 of them are men. With a growing number of males in the profession, people in Cardiff were asked what they thought of men helping women give birth.
Only 0.4% of registered midwives in the UK are men, according to figures provided by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Assisting women with childbirth has traditionally been viewed as a job for females.
The term midwife means “the person who is with the woman at childbirth” and it comes from Old English, “mid” meaning with, and “wif” meaning “woman”.
Up until 40 years ago, only women were allowed to train to be midwives. It remains an uncommon occupation for men even though according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, men make up 1.1% of university-level midwifery students in the UK. People in Cardiff were asked about their opinions of male midwives.
Celina, 31, Botanist
“I’ve discussed this with a friend. I do agree with it. What’s the problem? It’s just gender, what’s the matter?”
Katrina, 22, Charity fundraiser
“I think that’s brilliant. I don’t know. In the situation maybe I’d be a bit confused. It’s nice to associate with who you’re talking to and working with but I think it’s great.”
Hannah, 21, Students’ Union Front of House
“They’re just normal midwives aren’t they? They’re qualified, they know what they’re doing. If they can help someone through labour then that’s fantastic.”
Thomas, 28, Charity fundraiser
“Yeah I don’t have a problem with it. I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I don’t have any experience of childbirth.”
Ruth, 24, Assistant Gallery Manager
“Initially it would be a shock but I’d be perfectly fine. It’s a profession. They’re there because they love the job. Yeah, I think I’d be alright with it.”
Geoff, 22, Students’ Union Front of House
“Equality is equality. I think women are qualified to do men’s jobs and vice versa, so if they’re suitable for the job I don’t see why they shouldn’t be doing it.”