The Australian arm of charity Save the Children has launched a yearly State of Australian Fathers report to run alongside the already-established annual State of the World’s Mothers document. The move comes after a survey by the organisation revealed that fathers in the country wanted to be more involved with parenting, with many seeing themselves as helpers rather than primary carers.
One in three Australian dads wanted to spend more time playing with their kids, with one in four wishing they could be at home more when children were ill. The study also revealed that 40 percent of fathers took a week or less off work after the birth of their child – a far cry from new paternity packages being offered by the likes of Netflix.
The State of Australian Fathers report looks at dads’ hopes and fears in detail, whilst also offering recommendations for ways that society can become more father-friendly. Ideas include training child-health professionals to engage with men and encouraging social services to adapt current informative leaflets and publicity to include dads.
This seems a really positive move from a big-name organisation that carries some clout. Much of the advice on offer around pregnancy and child-rearing is still directed straight at the mum (as well as the marketing of baby and child products). Hopefully this report will start to modernise people’s thinking in Australia and beyond – it seems weird that some people need more convincing that dads are parents too.
As an aside – Paul Ronalds, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Australia, refers in the report to fatherhood as “one of the toughest – and best – jobs” he has ever had. It’s worth remembering that being a dad is also officially one of the most dangerous jobs too!