Equitable Fatherhood Makes Men Happier and Healthier
June 17 2019 - by Carole Houlihan, CLP's Gender and Diversity Specialist
Equality in caregiving is the key to thriving families and societies and makes men happier and healthier. And sharing unpaid work — like raising children and managing households — is an “urgent matter” of gender justice, according to a new report on modern fatherhood, The State of the World’s Fathers report.
The report was undertaken by Promundo, a global advocacy group focused on gender-equality issues, and MenCare, a global campaign to promote men’s and boys’ involvement as equitable, nonviolent caregivers. MenCare partners with groups in 50 countries to carry out advocacy, research, and programs to engage men in positive parenting, equitable caregiving, violence prevention, and in maternal, newborn, and child health.
The State of the World’s Fathers: Latin America and the Caribbean report is based on the 2015 report, augmented by recent research and data specifically on fatherhood in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Some of the key findings for the region include:
- Involved and equitable fatherhood helps children thrive. Studies confirm that fathers’ involvement has as much of an impact on children as mothers’ involvement and is linked to improved cognitive development and academic performance, improved mental health among children, empathy and social skills, and lower delinquency rates in sons.
- Involved and equitable fatherhood allows women and girls to achieve their full potential. By sharing caregiving and household tasks, men are supporting women’s participation in the labor market and society and equality overall. Fathers’ equitable attitudes and behaviors contribute to boys’ acceptance of gender equality and girls’ sense of autonomy and empowerment.
- Involved and equitable fatherhood can prevent child abuse and violence against women. Harmful beliefs that link masculinity with the use of violence in intimate relationships should be counteracted by working with fathers to break down these norms
- Involved and equitable fatherhood makes men happier and healthier. Fathers who have positive relationships with their children affirm that this relationship is one of the most important factors for their well-being and happiness. Studies show that fathers who have close, nonviolent relationships with their children live longer, have fewer mental and physical health problems, are less likely to abuse drugs, are more productive at work, and report being happier.