United Nations department of Economic and Social Affairs
The perceptions of the role of women and men in families have changed over the past few decades. Men are no longer perceived as the economic providers to families. The role of men in the family has undergone many diverse demographic, socio-economic and cultural transformations impacting the formation, stability and overall well-being of families.
In light of this development, DESAs Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) launched a new publication on Men in Families and Family Policy in a Changing World on 17 February focusing on the shifting roles and views of men in families. Aligning with the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Families, the publication intends to provide a global review and analysis of trends in mens participation in family life and their importance in achieving gender equality.
Professor Margaret OBrien, Co-Director, Centre for Research on the Child and Family, University of East Anglia, based in the U.K. saidTraditionally most international organizations have looked at gender issues from a women only perspective and have not thoroughly examined the real issue in including gender equity and harvesting the well being of children contributing to family life
The publication notes an information gap on fathers activities in the home. It is necessary to improve the demographic data about fathers to enhance the development of support. For instance, we do not know how many male prisoners are fathers. As a result, it is difficult to develop family support and parenting support systems.
To bridge this gap, Ms. OBrien stated the importance to promote more contact between policy makers and academics to uncover and discover the realm of fathers in family life, their caring, responsibilities and economic obligations and their emotional commitment and contributions to family life.
Many policies have been created to encourage greater participation of men in families, in the labor market, family law, health and social services as well as education and media. Perhaps one particularly important impact has been the introduction of paternity leave for men in many countries.
In a rapidly changing world, we will continue witnessing the growing momentum and recognition of the importance of men for gender equality, reconciling work-family life and impacting the future of their children.
Secretary of the Shared Parenting Council, Wayne Butler saidThe time has come for a department or Office to be established in Australia that can deal with key policy issues surrounding men, men and relationships with women and families and as well a wide range of issues that are affecting men need to be dealt with more pro actively at the front line of government policy.
I am not simply suggesting another bureaucratic, slow moving, organisation but a smaller dynamic operational team that can deliver policy recommendations to key government front line departments, Ministers and as well coordinate the wide ranging issues that are received in an ad-hoc way by many government agencies and departments.
Discuss the issues in the Secretary's topic here
Download the UN article MEN IN FAMILIES and Family Policy in a Changing World