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Open Access 2022 | Open Access | Book

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Engaged Fatherhood for Men, Families and Gender Equality

Healthcare, Social Policy, and Work Perspectives

Editors: Prof. Dr. Marc Grau Grau, Prof. Dr. Mireia las Heras Maestro, Hannah Riley Bowles

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Book Series: Contributions to Management Science

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About this book

This aim of this open access book is to launch an international, cross-disciplinary conversation on fatherhood engagement. By integrating perspective from three sectors—Health, Social Policy, and Work in Organizations—the book offers a novel perspective on the benefits of engaged fatherhood for men, for families, and for gender equality. The chapters are crafted to engaged broad audiences, including policy makers and organizational leaders, healthcare practitioners and fellow scholars, as well as families and their loved ones.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Open Access

Launching a Cross-disciplinary and Cross-national Conversation on Engaged Fatherhood
Abstract
The aim of this chapter is to explain the motivations for launching an international, cross-disciplinary conversation on fatherhood engagement. This volume stemmed from a Meeting of Experts from three sectors: Health and Wellbeing, Social Policy, and Work and Organizations. This chapter illuminates the unique learning opportunity afforded by coming together to examine the differential and common struggles across these three fields to support engaged fatherhood. The chapter is divided in four parts covering (1) the urgency and importance of supporting fatherhood engagement, (2) the benefits of studying and supporting fatherhood engagement from a cross-sectoral perspective, (3) the main contribution of each chapter in this volume, and (4) our grateful acknowledgements of the many people who made this collaboration possible.
Marc Grau Grau, Hannah Riley Bowles

Health and Wellbeing

Frontmatter

Open Access

The Role of Fathers in Child and Family Health
Abstract
Fathers’ involvement with their children has a substantial influence on both their children’s and their families’ health and development. Studied effects on child outcomes are reviewed within each phase of a child’s development (prenatal, infancy, childhood and adolescence). In addition, the impact of the physical and mental health of fathers on the health of their children is considered. This review advocates for policies enhancing father involvement, accessible and more extensive paternity leave, and increased attention to paternal postpartum depression by the medical community.
Michael W. Yogman, Amelia M. Eppel

Open Access

The Impact of Father’s Health on Reproductive and Infant Health and Development
Abstract
The importance of father’s health and health behaviors during the perinatal period is an under-appreciated, but critical, topic for enhancing reproductive and infant health and development, and ultimately men’s own lifetime health. This chapter brings together the existing scattered reproductive fatherhood health literature and articulates a new conceptual framework that identifies eight direct and indirect pathways of potential paternal impact. Three pathways reflect pre-conception to conception influences; paternal planned and wanted pregnancies (family planning); paternal biologic and genetic contributions; and paternal epigenetic contributions. Three pathways reflect father-mother perinatal interactions: paternal reproductive health practices that may alter their partner’s health behaviors and self-care practices; paternal reproductive biologic and social health that may alter their partner’s reproductive health biology; and paternal support for maternal delivery and post-partum care. And two pathways reflect systemic influences: paternal mental health influences; and paternal contributions to the family’s social determinants of health. This chapter pushes back the time frame for the father’s developmental importance for his child into the antenatal period, if not earlier; it encourages more gender equitable parental roles and opportunities; and it provides a stronger scientific knowledge base to support new fatherhood programs, policies and research that encourages father’s more active, healthier and earlier reproductive health involvement.
Milton Kotelchuck

Open Access

The Impact of Fatherhood on Men’s Health and Development
Abstract
Fatherhood has a direct and substantial impact on men’s physical, mental and social health, and sense of paternal generativity over their life course. This chapter, the second of a pair in this volume, explores the bidirectional impact of fatherhood on men’s health in the perinatal period. It pulls together a scattered fatherhood literature and articulates six broad pathways by which fatherhood could potentially impact on men’s health and development, both positively and negatively. This systematic exploration represents a new focus for the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) field, especially in addressing the perinatal time period, a time not usually thought of as impacting on men’s health. This chapter attempts to establish a firmer scientific knowledge base and rationale to support new, targeted perinatal fatherhood health programs, policies, and research. Hopefully, these will also further contribute to the growing efforts to expand men’s and women’s parental gender role expectations and equity, and enhance the parenting health and men’s health movements. Similar to the dual orientation of the women’s preconception health initiatives, earlier, healthier, and more actively engaged fatherhood should lead to both improved reproductive and infant health outcomes and men’s own improved health across the life course.
Milton Kotelchuck

Open Access

Steps in Developing a Public Health Surveillance System for Fathers
Abstract
Including the voice of the father in research related to fathering is essential. This chapter describes efforts to establish a new public health surveillance for fathers in the United States. The ultimate goal of this research is to study fatherhood to support healthy child development by collecting valuable information on father health and experiences in the perinatal period. Understanding fathers is key to learning about and improving family health, since fathers impact mothers and babies’ health. Studying the health of fathers during the transition to fatherhood can also provide a window into the overall health status of men, expanding the field of public health to include more specifics on the health of fathers and their impact on families. Currently surveillance systems are lacking in including the fathers’ perspective in measurement of paternal health and the transition to fatherhood. To address these issues we utilized a multi-pronged approach to inform development of a public health surveillance system for fathers: (1) review of the current literature to identify gaps in knowledge on the role of fatherhood in male and family health and identify current national-level surveillance data on fathers; (2) assessed feasibility of identifying participants to implement a surveillance system for fathers; (3) conducted formative research to develop methodology; and (4) piloted a public health surveillance system called the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System for Dads or “PRAMS for Dads.”
Clarissa D. Simon, Craig F. Garfield

Open Access

Fatherhood and Reproductive Health in the Antenatal Period: From Men’s Voices to Clinical Practice
Abstract
There is very limited literature on the experiences of fathers during Obstetric prenatal care (PNC), especially hearing from fathers’ voices directly. The MGH Fatherhood Project conducted two annual surveys—data combined for analysis—of all fathers who accompanied their partners to prenatal care visits over 2-week periods at a large, tertiary-care urban hospital in Boston, MA. The anonymous, voluntary close-ended survey was offered in multiple languages and self-administered on iPads.
Results: Nine hundred fifty nine fathers participated, 86% of attending fathers, possibly making the study the largest research sample of fathers in PNC. Fathers are actively and deeply engaged with the impending birth; they have substantial physical health needs (obesity, family planning and lack of primary care), and mental health needs (stress, depressive symptoms, and personal isolation). Fathers perceived they were well treated during the PNC visit, but were desirous of more reproductive, relational, and infant health information and skills, which they preferred to receive from publications, social media, or health professionals; and they were very supportive of PNC fatherhood initiatives.
Discussion: The results suggest five sets of practical recommendations to create a more father-friendly environment in Obstetric care-Staff Training; Father-Friendly Clinic Environment; Explicit Affirmation of Father Inclusion; Development of Educational Materials; and Specialized Father-Focused Health Initiatives, all with the goal of improving reproductive health outcomes for families.
Raymond A. Levy, Milton Kotelchuck

Social Policy

Frontmatter

Open Access

Fathers and Family Leave Policies: What Public Policy Can Do to Support Families
Abstract
There are various types of family leave available to fathers across and within countries. The specific design features of family leave policies are associated with how well used they are by fathers, and the key features associated with higher take up by fathers are presented here. There is an emerging literature on the various impacts of fathers on leave in relation to factors such as family health and well-being and gender equality in the labour market. In particular, fathers and family leave are important for a good quality of infant life. Finally, the chapter considers ways in which employers can support fathers in the workplace to take leave, in light of the range of associated benefits.
Alison Koslowski, Margaret O’Brien

Open Access

Individual Parental Leave for Fathers: Promoting Gender Equality in Norway
Abstract
This chapter takes as its point of departure the design elements of the Norwegian parental leave system for fathers and examines how it works as a regulatory measure to promote equality in care work. The findings show that the design of the father’s quota as a statutory, earmarked, and non-transferrable right for fathers promotes the fathers’ use of leave and hence equality. The earmarking, and the fact that it cannot be transferred to the mother, renders it unnecessary for fathers to negotiate with the mother about this leave. The father’s quota is also an important bargaining chip in relation to working life for having time off for doing care-work. These findings support other research on fathers’ use of leave which have shown that these design characteristics of father’s quota represents a strong incentive for greater involvement in caregiving on the part of fathers.
Elin Kvande

Open Access

How Do Men Talk about Taking Parental Leave? Evidence from South Korea, Spain, and the U.S.
Abstract
This study explores how men in South Korea, Spain, and the U.S. use parental leave and shows how distinct labor-market structures, divisions of unpaid and paid labor, and parental leave policies shape individuals’ intentions and decisions to utilize leave policies. Using in-depth interviews of 80 men, we show two important findings: One, in Spain and the U. S., the systematized monetary support strongly encourages fathers to use parental leave whereas in South Korea, a generous policy becomes of little use because work culture heavily discourages men from taking leave. Two, gender norms shape the desirability of using parental leave regardless of the availability of the policy. An emerging group of men in Spain and the U.S. actively reconstruct what an engaged father should do whereas Korean men took it for granted that fathers should not take leave, instead should work even harder to be a responsible father. In the end, this study shows how the monetary structure and schema of what an engaged father should do shape how men approach and use parental leave in three different contexts.
Xiana Bueno, Eunsil Oh

Work & Organizations

Open Access

Impossible Standards and Unlikely Trade-Offs: Can Fathers be Competent Parents and Professionals?
Abstract
Many questions remain with respect to what it actually means to be an involved father today and the ways in which organizations can encourage a more holistic view of men as ideal parents and professionals. In this chapter, we reflect on these considerations by drawing from prior research and set an agenda for further examining fatherhood in an organizational context.
Jamie J. Ladge, Beth K. Humberd

Open Access

The New Dad: The Career-Caregiving Conundrum
Abstract
This chapter draws mainly from “The New Dad” studies, a decade long research series done by the Boston College Center for Work & Family which studied the changing role of primarily college-educated, white-collar fathers working in large US-based corporate settings. The series explored the experiences of these fathers on a wide range of issues including their transition to fatherhood, work roles, definitions of success, attitudes on paternity leave and caregiving, and work-family issues.
Brad Harrington

Open Access

French Fathers in Work Organizations: Navigating Work-Life Balance Challenges
Abstract
This chapter aims at contributing to a better understanding of the challenges and tensions that French working fathers experience at work in trying to achieve work-life balance. Drawing on a sample of 20 fathers, aged 27–51, working in different work organizations, in-depth interviews were conducted to investigate how these fathers navigate tensions between the simultaneous pressure for having a successful career and for embodying an involved fatherhood. The findings show that the fathers’ perceptions and expectations towards work-life balance are different from women, fathers often associating their needs for work-life balance with occasional and informal flexibility and not always viewing the organization as a source of solutions. Heterogeneously influenced by their cultural ideals of work and fatherhood, they expect now more proactivity, recognition and support on the part of their organization and supervisor to fully carry out their fatherhood. A typology of three profiles with different ways of combining fatherhood and work is derived: the ‘breadwinner’ father, the ‘caring father’ and the ‘want to have it all’ father. These categories are further developed highlighting the practices and strategies French fathers mobilize to solve their work-life equation.
Sabrina Tanquerel

Open Access

‘It Would Be Silly to Stop Now and Go Part-Time’: Fathers and Flexible Working Arrangements in Australia
Abstract
Expectations of fathering have changed over the past few decades, and it appears fathers are increasingly participating in care activities. Despite this, the capacity for Australian men to participate in child rearing is impeded by limitations around flexible working arrangements. The link between fathering, masculinity, paid work, and the persistent expectation that fathers will be the financial providers within the family unit is examined in this chapter. The influence of this gendered expectation on Australian policy development is briefly discussed, and some recommendations provided for policy makers, organizations, and fathers.
Ashlee Borgkvist

Open Access

Small Changes that Make a Great Difference: Reading, Playing and Eating with your Children and the Facilitating Role of Managers in Latin America
Abstract
Parenting is challenging in today’s world. Dual careers, hyper-connectivity, and long distances take almost all our time, and parents must integrate their different roles. A direct impact of this hectic life is on the time parents spend with their children. Additionally, the role of fathers has gained importance, and it is important to understand his influence. In this chapter we will analyze the importance of the time fathers spend in positive engagement activities with their children, such as eating and reading with their children, and also how organizations, through their managers, can promote these positive engagement activities. Also, to show how context influences this relationship, we compare different countries in Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.
María José Bosch, Mireia Las Heras

Open Access

Fatherhood Among Marginalised Work-Seeking Men in South Africa
Abstract
Several factors have been shown to shape the ways in which men parent/engage with their children and families. Socio-economic status, culture, history, political background, and access to paid employment are among these factors. In this chapter we focus on the ways in which precarious employment shapes the parenting practices of marginalized men in South Africa. These are men who seek work on the side of the road, often referred to as ‘day labourers’. We report on data collected through semi-structured interviews with 46 men who identified as fathers. The data was analysed using the grounded theory method of constant comparison which involved two phases of coding (initial- and focused coding). Following the coding process, the data was compared for similarities, differences, and contradictions. Lastly, the analysis involved the thematic organization of codes which resulted several main themes. The first theme explored in this chapter draws on the integration of parenting roles, where men not only focus on financial provision, but also highlight the significance of being physically present and showing their children love. The second theme we explored highlights the significance of traditional practices – amasiko – as practices of gatekeeping that hinder the involvement of men with their biological children.
Mandisa Malinga, Kopano Ratele

Open Access

The Role of Love and Children’s Agency in Improving Fathers’ Wellbeing
Abstract
This chapter focuses on father-child wellbeing arguing that fathers are emotionally transformed by having a child and that children have a beneficial influence on father’s health and positive engagement in work. Previous research described how involved fatherhood offers men the opportunity to resist practices of risk-taking, denial of treatment, expression of anger, which are harmful to their health. However, studies on the relationship between fathers and children often overlook the mutual beneficial effects that these family members have on each other. Based on findings from 47 qualitative interviews and 6 observations with Scottish and Romanian involved fathers and their children, I show how children were described by fathers as re-energizing them for work and helping them let go of negative health habits, such as smoking, drugs, and reckless driving. Fathers in turn, adopted a long-term perspective for their health and wellbeing brought on by planning for the future. Conclusively, children seem to play an important role in counteracting the toxic aspects of masculinity, as children were described as helping fathers shift emotionally from stoicism and control to increased nurturance and emotional openness, thereby affecting their wellbeing in positive ways.
Alexandra Macht

Conclusion and Principles for Promoting Gender Equity

Frontmatter

Open Access

Reducing Barriers to Engaged Fatherhood: Three Principles for Promoting Gender Equity in Parenting
Abstract
The purpose of this concluding chapter is to offer scholars, policy makers, and organizational leaders a preliminary framework for diagnosing barriers to engaged fatherhood and for generating policies, programs, and behavioral interventions to promote gender equity in parenting. We start by reviewing the case for engaged fatherhood to support the health and welfare of men and their families and to regain momentum in the stalled revolution toward gender equality. Building from the cross-disciplinary and cross-national collaboration that led to the construction of this edited volume, we propose three working principles for reducing the barriers to engaged fatherhood: (1) create individual, non-transferable parenting resources explicitly for fathers, (2) reduce economic conflicts between breadwinning and caregiving, and (3) build supportive social networks for engaged fatherhood. We explain how these principles apply to social policy, as well as to work and healthcare practices—the three fields of scholarship and practice represented at our original Fatherhood Experts Meeting. We conclude with suggestions for further cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural collaboration to enhance engaged fatherhood.
Hannah Riley Bowles, Milton Kotelchuck, Marc Grau Grau
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Metadata
Title
Engaged Fatherhood for Men, Families and Gender Equality
Editors
Prof. Dr. Marc Grau Grau
Prof. Dr. Mireia las Heras Maestro
Hannah Riley Bowles
Copyright Year
2022
Electronic ISBN
978-3-030-75645-1
Print ISBN
978-3-030-75644-4
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-75645-1

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