The Parenthood joined a coalition of organisations endorsing a groundbreaking Dad’s Action Plan for the Early Years in Sydney, demanding policy changes to foster equitable parenting patterns, empower dads and support early childhood development.
The Dad’s Action Plan addresses the fundamental role of fathers in parenting and the persistent challenges they face, including stereotyping and inadequate support.
"There are clear benefits from supporting and encouraging men to be engaged, active fathers and take on responsibility for the care and well-being of their young children. It's good for dads, really important for children, great for families and helps bring women and men closer to true equality," says Georgie Dent, CEO of The Parenthood.
"Dads in Australia take less than 20% of the parental leave dads take globally. This isn't because dads here aren't interested in taking the leave. It's because our policy settings don't encourage it. An equitable paid parental leave policy is a game-changer for mums, dads, and children. It gives parents the ability to truly share the care," Georgie Dent emphasises.
The Dad's Action Plan outlines a five-point plan to empower fathers, calling for a national strategy promoting equal parenting, increased investment in perinatal education, federally-funded paid parental leave, commitment to universal early learning, and a workforce strategy encouraging male participation.
The Parenthood stresses the transformative impact of an equitable paid parental leave policy on family dynamics. Dent states, "An equitable paid parental leave policy is a game-changer for mothers, fathers, and children. It enables parents to share caregiving responsibilities and dismantles barriers to women's workforce participation. When men share the load at home, women can share the load at work, enhancing gender equality and contributing to the nation's economic growth."
"Caring patterns set in the first year persist, so supporting parents to share care early leads to a more equitable division of unpaid and paid work."
Australian dads take far less parental leave than fathers take globally. Dent notes, "This perpetuates the expectation that mothers will assume primary responsibility for caregiving. We need a shift in societal norms, where fathers are encouraged and supported to be active caregivers."
The Parenthood underscores the wide-ranging benefits of fathers taking on more parental leave, including improved child development, enhanced mental health for mothers, strengthened relationships, and a reduction in the 'motherhood penalty.'
Georgie Dent concludes, "Encouraging men to be active fathers is not just beneficial for dads, but crucial for children. It's a step closer to achieving true equality between women and men."
The Parenthood and the Dad's Action Group urge policymakers, businesses, and communities to join the call for a Fathers' Action Plan for the Early Years, emphasising that policy changes to foster equitable parenting and early childhood development are not only good for families but essential for the well-being and success of future generations.
You can find the Dad's Action Plan here.