Welcome to the website on European Fatherhood.
We present information on men, equality, and fatherhood in Europe.
The content is for professionals working in the area as well as anyone interested in the subject.
Working to change the role of the father and promote good fatherhood is very much about working constructively within the boundaries of the society that people happen to be in. Aspects such as culture, societal structure, institutions and language cannot be ignored.. It is this social setting that is 'gendered', and through which certain views on fatherhood are constructed and reproduced.
It is important not to underestimate the fundamental challenges we face in changing existing views on gender and fatherhood. Changing the role of fathers and views on fatherhood will require both sociological and psychological approaches and practices.
The Scandinavian countries lead the statistic on European fathers taking parental leave. In most other European countries the actual number of fathers who take parental leave is low, and yet relatively high considering the barriers. The statistics indicate a strong correlation between incentives and parental leave.
The number of European men taking parental leave is rising, but how do men personally experience their leave? What kind of reactions are they met with by friends, family, colleagues and the community? What are the reasons for men taking parental leave and are their expectations realistic?
Men are keen to learn a broad range of caregiver skills and become better fathers, but often do not participate in family education. Reasons are both practical and psychological in nature, and point to the need to redesign family education – both in terms of curriculum, structure and process.
An untreated male postnatal depression can have many and serious consequences for the child and the family as a whole. Effective therapy should focus on the man's relationship with his own parents, and his current relationship with his child. Different schools of therapy have all shown themselves to be effective.
Information and understanding are essentials in overcoming gender stereotypes surrounding male postnatal depression. They are also key preventive measures, and should be provided prior to birth. Helping men who show symptoms of postnatal depression is of utmost importance as it supports the family as a whole.
Any work to promote good fatherhood is always rooted in a set of historical, cultural and social conditions, processes and developments. Understanding these factors and understanding the issues and perspectives that must thus be included is key to a successful promotion of new fatherhood models.
Male only learning sessions help men prepare for the practical and emotional challenges of becoming a father. Mothers too benefit from such sessions. They encourage fathers-to-be to talk more openly with their partner about feelings and expectations, and help the couple better manage the often very trying first year of parenthood.
Despite the documented benefits, only a fraction of privately owned businesses have implemented 'family-friendly' measures. A well functioning family life has a positive or very positive influence on performance in the workplace. This article presents best practice cases from Germany and Denmark, three corporate and one municipal.
Workplace culture plays a key role in men's decision whether to take parental leave or not. Company values, the way work is organised and policies on paternal leave must be taken into consideration by employers looking to provide support for male employees in their transition to fatherhood.
Men, fathers and the issue of fatherhood is underrepresented in all aspects of child related research. It does not reflect changes in men's understanding of themselves as fathers and the psychological, sociological, economic and health related effects of these changes. This article maps the need for future research projects.
A study of how ethnic minority fathers perceive fatherhood, and how this inflects attitudes towards gender equality in the family as a whole.
By associate professor, Ph.d. Kenneth Reinicke
With support from the European Community - Programme relating to the Community Framework Strategy on Gender Equality (2001-2006).The information contained in this website does not necessarily reflect the position or opinion of the European Commission.