Father’s Day: How workplaces can better support men to be engaged fathers

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Diversity Council Australia’s Men Make a Difference: Engaging Men on Gender Equality research found that men will benefit from greater gender equality; especially from their active involvement as fathers in their children’s lives.

In the lead up to Father’s Day on 3 September, DCA interviewed four senior executive men from DCA member organisations about what matters to them when it comes to gender equality, being a dad and what workplaces can do to support men to be more engaged fathers.

Lisa Annese, DCA’s CEO said the experiences of these fathers echo DCA research findings.

“There is a lot of evidence that men want to be more involved in their families but stereotypes about men not being suited to caring and workplace cultures that don’t support men working flexibly are real barriers.

“Many of our interviewees felt grateful that they were able to work flexibly. We need to do more to ensure that all working fathers have this kind of support and feel able to participate more actively in their families’ lives,” said Lisa.

What our interviewees said about gender equality and being a dad:

  • Each actively supports gender equality and wants their children to live in a world free of discrimination
  • They recognise that work, home and the community are connected and improvements in gender equality will benefit everyone through better business performance, relationships and family life
  • Workplace flexibility and parental leave have been crucial in helping them balance their work and caring responsibilities
  • They understand the value of role-modelling flexible working, even while they perform very senior roles, as it encourages others to feel comfortable to do the same.

How they think organisations can support men to be more engaged fathers:

  • Assist men to be parents from the very beginning including providing flexibility to attend appointments before a child arrives
  • Provide decent paid parental leave alongside flexible working to enable fathers to attend school events or stay home when a child is sick
  • Change the culture so that fathers feel it’s ok to take parental leave or work flexibly.

“Employers need to prioritise both men and women as caregivers, and ensure they have equal access to organisational support such as paid parental leave and flexible work. This will not only benefit men and their families but their workplaces as well,” added Lisa.

The rest of this content is restricted to DCA members.