Dads want to do more caring but are struggling to make it a reality, says State of the World’s Fathers Report 2019

With Father’s Day approaching in the UK, USA and many other countries on June 16, the release of the latest State of World’s Fathers 2019 Report couldn’t be more timely.

Promundo, a leading organisation globally in promoting gender justice and preventing violence, release this report every two years, and this year’s draws on analysis from other 40 countries and over 12,000 participant interviews. The report looks at men’s contributions to parenting and caregiving, and provides recommendations for policy and action to promote gender equality.

We know that providing equitable and supportive measures for both parents is key to advancing gender equality. By allowing men and women to be caregivers and financial providers, both are then able to fulfil their desires of being able to care for their families and be involved in their family life, while still pursuing a career and thriving at work. This comprehensive report details not just the data surrounding this, but the barriers that are stopping it from happening.

Dads want to help – so why aren’t they?

The 2019 report findings include:

· 85% of fathers say that they would be willing to do anything to be very involved in the early weeks and months of caring for their newly born or adopted child. So what’s holding dads back from doing this? The report identifies three major current obstacles to this –

o The lack of adequate, paid paternity leave, and low take-up of leave when it is available;

o Restrictive gender norms that position care as women’s responsibility, alongside the perception of women as more competent caregivers than men; and

o A lack of economic security and government support for all parents and caregivers.

The report also included these findings:

· Over 65% of women say mothers would have better physical health, and over 72 percent say they would have better mental health, if fathers took at least two weeks paternity leave.

· Significant proportions of men and women still believe that “changing diapers, giving baths to children, and feeding children should be the mother’s responsibility.”

· Up to 76% of mothers (UK) and 59 percent of fathers (Canada) from the seven middle- and high-income countries surveyed rate financial barriers as the greatest reason for not taking more parental leave.

· 48% of countries offer paid paternity leave on the birth of a child, and often this is less than three weeks – or sometimes only a few days. Even when paternity leave exists, few fathers take leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

What needs to change?

The 2019 SOWF highlights five key areas that need to change in order to achieve gender-equal caregiving and parenting –

1. Improve laws and policies

2. Transform social and gender norms

3. Guarantee economic and physical security for vulnerable families

4. Help couples and co-parents thrive

5. Put individual fathers’ care into action

These are in line with Parents At Work’s recommendations to employers and governments. The Advancing Parental Leave Equality Whitepaper expands on these recommendations. This report goes into more depth on why this is an issue and how some companies are leading the way in alleviating them with great success to their business and recruitment.

Read the full State of the World’s Fathers 2019 Report here.

To find out how your organisation measures up when it comes to gender-equal policies, and become involved in our Parental Leave Equality advocacy, visit the Advancing Parental Leave Equality Network (APLEN) website.

Statistics taken from the State of the World’s Fathers 2019 Report.