Men say they can do more. They want to do more. But they can’t do it alone. In the latest State of America’s Fathers report, produced by MenCare and Promundo US, research breaks down what it takes to support caring, involved dads.The hope is that the report will increase the visibility and value of care work in the United States at the national level with never-before-analyzed data and bold policy recommendations. It seeks to influence and improve policies and programming for parents, particularly for the most vulnerable families and fathers. The report also aims to increase support for men’s caregiving more broadly, as a strategy to advance gender equality and social justice and to improve family well-being.
I was invited to an event celebrating the release of the State of America’s Fathers report by a client and was instantly intrigued on how they would break down the results and what they would say. Has there been progress? Are men trying to have an increased role at home? While I know my own husband certainly is, we are 50/50 in terms of childcare without question, is the rest of the nation following in his footsteps and is it easier or harder for others than for him?
Breaking Down the State of America’s Fathers 2016 Report
Apparently, things are getting better but there is still progress to be made. National data shows that women with children under the age of six spend just over an hour a day on hands-on care, while men only do half that amount. Fathers are taking on more childcare and domestic work than ever before, but we have a long way to go. The reason is that the U.S. fails to support families – particularly those at low-income levels- with living wages, paid parental leave and other programs and policies to ensure that children get the care that they need. The conversation wasn’t solely focused on dads, it was focused on gender – everyone. We would all benefit fro more paid leave. Flexible policies that include paid time off for men are beneficial for women, children and men alike. I’m proud to live in a state that adopted a paid leave policy, but it needs to be more than just by state to state. It needs to be a national law. I have felt this ever since I was given just six weeks by my employer when my daughter was born. Going back too soon was detrimental to both me and my child. I was so perplexed by the situation, I later ran a series of women and work right here on this blog.
I implore you to download the report. You will learn a lot. J. Ivey, a poet and author who spoke at the conference, gave me a lot of food for thought about the need for increased roles of fathers, and he ended the day with a great line:
Adjust your attitude. Live in gratitude.
Disclosure: I was at the Fatherly event as a representative for Global Moms Challenge. However, all opinions are my own.