Paving the way for male midwives on International Men’s Day

As International Men’s Day approaches, Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH) celebrates the journey and contributions of Dave Farmer, Head of Midwifery, challenging the status quo as a male midwife and paving the way for inclusivity within the field of midwifery. 

With less than 200 male midwives across the UK, comprising less than 0.5% of the entire workforce, Dave Farmer stands as WUTH’s only male midwife. He started his career in the healthcare sector in 1985 as a paramedic before following his passion to become a midwife.  

“I joined the health service in 1985. I was a paramedic first and it was during that time that I thought ‘I need something different’. I delivered babies in my role as a paramedic and I thought it was just something I wanted to do.” 

Transitioning from paramedic to nurse and subsequently completing midwifery training in 2002, Dave encountered resistance and misconceptions as the first male midwife in places he worked during his early career.  

(L-R) Dave Farmer, Head of Midwifery at Wirral University Teaching Hospital (WUTH), Katherine Sheard, Student Midwife at WUTH and Camilla Upton, Student Midwife at WUTH pictured with newborn Noah Taylor Upton-Price on the Maternity Day Ward at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital

“Back then, there was a minority of midwives who didn’t think midwifery was a man’s role. That just spurred me on,” he recalls. 

“I think if you look at any woman that is going into a man’s world, they always say they have to be twice as good to be seen as being equal and I suppose that was, from a personal point of view, my mentality so that I could prove myself to everyone.  

“I have a greater appreciation now for any women that has gone into an industry perceived as being in a man’s world.” 

Reflecting on the gender stereotypes in the field, Dave stressed, “Midwifery is still seen as a female role, but I don’t see myself as a male midwife. I’m a midwife. 

“The term midwife means with woman and child. It’s about the role, not the gender.”  

With an eye on the future, Dave encourages more men to get into midwifery. He said, “I hope if people can take anything from this, it is that midwifery is all about the role that you do, not gender. It is a fantastic career and I hope more men consider it as a possible occupation.”  

As International Men’s Day approaches, it serves as a vital reminder of the diverse contributions of men globally. Stories like Dave Farmer’s, a pioneering male midwife, shed light on unconventional career paths and challenge stereotypes. His journey showcases the importance of breaking barriers and encouraging men to explore non-traditional roles, such as midwifery.  

Lead image: Dave Farmer, Head of Midwifery at Wirral University Teaching Hospital holding newborn Noah Taylor Upton-Price on the Maternity Day Ward at Wirral Women and Children’s Hospital

Why not follow birkenhead.news on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to news@birkenhead.news