Here at WATC, we would like to give a shout-out to all the world’s papas, including more than 70 million men in the U.S. alone. The role of fathers has evolved over time, and we remain in praise of the role they play in building strong, loving families around the world. Yes, we support “women at the center,” but we also love our dads.
What better day than Father’s Day to take a look at the first-ever global analysis of fatherhood? The State of the World’s Fathers report, recently released by a global fatherhood campaign called MenCare, provides a unique glimpse into what makes dads thrive.
Here are some interesting findings from the report:
- Between 61 and 77% of fathers report that they would work less if it meant that they could have more time with their children.
- While maternity leave is now offered in nearly all countries, only 92 offer paternity leave for fathers. Iceland seems to be the world champion in men’s use of paternity leave: men there now average 103 days of paid leave. However, women in Iceland still take 3 times more than this. In other countries, fathers only take around 20% of the leave that mothers do.
- In the Global South, men’s presence at pre-natal care visits varies greatly, from 96% in the Maldives to only 18% in Burundi. However, fathers around the world are often not closely engaged during pregnancy and are absent at birth and in early infancy, despite evidence to suggest that engaging men and boys can have important benefits for the health of mothers and children.
- The involvement of fathers before, during, and after the birth of a child has been shown to have positive effects on maternal health behaviors, women’s use of maternal and newborn health services, and fathers’ longer-term support and involvement in the lives of their children.
- Evolution has left men as deeply biologically wired for emotional connections to children as women are. In other words, children similarly affect the development of both mothers and fathers, just as fathers and mothers affect children.
- Fathers’ involvement has been linked to lower rates of depression, fear, and self-doubt in their young adult children, and it may also protect sons from delinquency.
This video on the State of the World’s Fathers report is a touching reflection on great dads around the world. You can also tune into the discussion about global fatherhood on Twitter via #SOWF. Happy Father’s Day to you and your family!