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Father’s involvement in upbringing of children leads to their better mental health

Islamabad Father’s involvement in care-giving leads to higher cognitive development, school achievements and better mental health for children and lower rate of delinquency in sons. Many such facts are shared in the 'State of the World’s Fathers Report 2015' launched by Men Engage Alliance, Act International and Shirakat on Thursday.

By Myra Imran
October 02, 2015
Islamabad
Father’s involvement in care-giving leads to higher cognitive development, school achievements and better mental health for children and lower rate of delinquency in sons.
Many such facts are shared in the 'State of the World’s Fathers Report 2015' launched by Men Engage Alliance, Act International and Shirakat on Thursday. The report is produced by MenCare, a global campaign to promote involvement of men and boys as equitable and non-violent care- givers.
The report says that approximately 80% of men become biological fathers at some point in their lives and their involvement in care-giving has a lasting influence on the lives of children, women and men and has an enduring impact on the world around them.
It says that massive changes in the workplace and in households are bringing changes to men’s participation as care-givers yet men’s involvement in care-giving has too often been missing from public policies, systematic data collection and research.
The report further says that involved fatherhood allows women and girls to achieve their full potential. Research finds that daughters of fathers who share domestic chores equally are more likely to aspire for less traditional and higher-paying jobs.
In addition, the study reveals that fathers who report close, non-violent connection with their children live longer, have fewer mental or physical health problems, are less likely to abuse drugs and are more productive at workplace.
The report highlights the fact that though women make 40% of the global formal workforce, they continue to perform up to 10 times more care- giving and domestic work as compared to men. It says that data from International Men and Gender Equality Survey shows that most fathers report that they would work less if it meant that they could spent more time with their children. In United States, survey shows that 40% of fathers said that they were not spending enough time with children as compared to 23% of mothers.
The report suggests that well-designed leave for fathers after childbirth can play vital role in shifting the care burden from mothers. The report also recommends creating national and international action plans to promote involved, non-violent fatherhood and equal sharing of care work. It also stresses the need to recognise diversity of men’s care-giving and support it in all of its forms.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, International Commitments Director General Muhammad Hassan Mangi talked about effective parenting for rearing children, particularly girls. He suggested changes in curriculum to promote effective parenting. He said that comprehensive policies have been drafted in the past but a few changes are required after devolution. “Instead of reinventing the wheels, there is a need to review these policies and make amendments according to new circumstances,” he said, while urging more focus on the implementation side.
National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairperson Khawar Mumtaz said male support is vital to bring any change in social mindset. She said that it was the support from men that gave momentum to women rights’ movement in Pakistan.
UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Qazi said that fathers play important role in promoting gender equality. “If we want to change fathers of tomorrow, we need to work with the children of today,” he said.
The TDEA chief executive officer presented an interesting analysis of Pakistani society. He said that it will be difficult to bring change in Pakistani society as its social, political and administrative structures are highly male-dominated. “Unless fathers remain ‘macho’ man, they will be a problem,” he said.
Chief of Party Gender Equity Programme of Aurat Foundation Simi Kamal said that women continuously make sacrifices so that their men can excel. “I am glad that the report asks men to make similar sacrifices for women. Men have to take their fatherhood role seriously.”
Country Director Trocaire John O’Brien said that austerity which young boys see modelled by their fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers and other men in their lives gives rise to a reluctance to demonstrate connection, empathy and unconditional love.
Head of Programmes Act International MubashirBanoori termed the report an eye opener. Country Representative Rutgers WPF Qadeer Baig identified that realisation of sexual and reproductive health is based on engaging men and for that we have to create a balanced role of both men and women in our society.
Country Programme Manager (Implementation) Plan International Imran Shami said role of fathers in our society is shaped by the gender constructed roles. He suggested that paternal leave should be addressed at the policy level as our government does not have it. The session was concluded by Coordinator of MenEngage Alliance Pakistan Bilquis Tahira.