A recent study by the nonprofit organization Equimundo has found that although more men are increasingly taking on unpaid caretaking responsibilities, they face barriers such as a lack of structural support and persistent gender stereotypes. The survey, which sampled nearly 12,000 individuals across 17 countries, indicates that societal norms and insufficient parental leave policies are some of the structural issues limiting men’s contributions to domestic work.
- The Equimundo study, “State of the World’s Fathers,” indicates that while more men have started participating in unpaid care work, the majority of such work is still shouldered by women and girls. Men also face barriers like gender norms and a lack of supportive structures for child care.
- The survey reveals a significant effect of caregiving balance on emotional wellbeing. Parents who are satisfied with their level of involvement in child-rearing tend to feel more fulfilled and grateful, while those feeling unsupported, mainly financially, tend to find childcare more exhausting.
- Although 122 countries offer paid leave to fathers, only 81 provide full pay for paternity leave, and merely 45 allow 14 weeks or more of paid parental leave for fathers. This lack of adequate parental leave restricts parents, especially fathers, from stepping away from their work responsibilities.
- The gender pay gap further complicates matters as it incentivizes men to stay at work rather than take paternal leave. Until this gap is bridged, the likelihood of women returning to work instead of men remains high.
- The study recommends a cultural shift in teaching boys from an early age about the importance of housework, similar to girls. This could contribute to men becoming more involved in domestic duties in the future.