Approximately four out of five men worldwide will be fathers at some point in their lives. And nearly all the world’s men have some connection to children as stepfathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, teachers, mentors, coaches or simply as friends. A growing and overwhelming body of evidence from the Global South and the Global North confirms that engaged, responsive fatherhood and men’s participation in the lives of children are generally positive for children, women and for men themselves.
Globally, women and girls continue to carry out the majority of domestic activities — even though women now represent 40% of the paid work force. Men’s limited participation in care work (referring to the care of children and the care of others in family settings) continues to be a major barrier to gender equality and women’s empowerment by, among other things, keeping women’s income lower than men’s. MenCare is a much-needed complement to global and local efforts to engage men and boys in ending violence against women and children. It is part of the MenEngage Alliance’s global vision of achieving equitable, non-violent relationships and caring visions of what it means to be men. MenCare partners strive to work in collaboration with women’s rights organizations – and directly with women and mothers, as well as men – to identify and promote shared, non-violent, gender-equitable caregiving as well as safe childbirth.
MenCare has 10 themes as the backbone of the MenCare campaign globally. In the Balkans our fatherhood campaign as part of its first steps will focus on promoting positive images of fatherhood and care giving in child’s everyday life. As the campaign progresses, we will focus on other important topics such as: fathers involvement in everyday care, education, child’s health and prevention of violence.
The first three campaign themes are the following:
You can be a man who earns the respect of your community and family. It’s easy… just be a proud father.
Too often the only role society recognizes or expects of men, is to be providers. But societies and families also want and respect men who are involved fathers.
Men who report close, caring relationships with their children – regardless of their sexual identities or whether they live with the mother of the child – are better off in many ways.
You know that play is serious business. Take the time to laugh and play, every day.
Close to half of the world’s fathers say that they provide some kind of daily care or have some daily involvement with their children. The most common daily activity that men carry out with children: playing. Playing with children is important work both as recreation and as part of care work and should be encouraged. Play is necessary for children to develop motor skills, creativity and social skills. And playing with children helps men as well. Through play, men connect and bond with children, developing sensitivity and responsiveness to children’s needs.
You have a chance to be a father who cares deeply for those he loves. That’s a rare thing in today’s world.
Many men and women think that men cannot or should not show affection toward children — that fathers should be stoic, and the enforcers of rules and discipline. But showing affection and demonstrating emotions and caring are among the most important things that fathers can do.
Children who have emotionally close relationships with their fathers are more likely themselves to demonstrate empahty, be connected and involved with their communities and to show better mental health.