7 Global Trends From The Massive ‘State Of The World’s Fathers’ Report

MenCare, the Clinton Foundation, and the UN just released a massive meta-analysis that uncovers broad global trends about fathers across the globe. Here are your Cliffs Notes.

by Michael Howard
Originally Published: 

On Tuesday, the first-ever State Of The World’s Fathers report was released through a campaign called MenCare, which was coordinated by nonprofits Promundo and Sonke Gender Justice. This is a big deal because bold-faced “State Of The World’s _____” have a solid track record of affecting positive change for the groups being reported on. Remember Sally Struthers making you feel terrible in the 80s because your can of soda could feed a starving child for the day? That was thanks to UNICEF’s State Of The World’s Children report. In 2000, Save The Children’s State Of The World’s Mothers report found a clear link between women’s education and children’s well-being, and education rates for women have been on the rise ever since. Now, it’s dad’s turn.

Led by the global fatherhood campaign MenCare, this meta-analysis of hundreds of studies across every data-logging country on earth reveals broad patterns — both positive and negative — of fatherhood across the globe. If you don’t have time to read the 288 page report, here are the top 7 takeaways:

Moms Are Still The Primary Parent By A Long Shot

– Mad Men-style sexism may seem anachronistic in the United States, but globally, women still spend 2-to-10 times longer on childcare than men. – If you’re curious as to the spread, the report cites the smallest gap in France (1.6 hours difference per day) and the largest in Mexico (4.5 hours difference per day).

Equal Parenting Boosts Economies

– While women’s participation in the labor force is increasing worldwide, men’s caregiving hasn’t kept pace. – Between 61 and 77 percent of fathers worldwide say they would gladly work less if it meant more time with their kids. – If the U.S. achieved complete parity in the division of household labor, the report estimates that the country’s GDP would increase by 5 percent.

Paternity Leave Is On The Rise Globally

– In 1994, only 40 of 141 countries (28 percent) surveyed by the International Labor Organization had statutory provisions for paternity leave. By 2013, 78 out of 167 countries (47 percent) did. – Iceland wins paternity leave globally: Icelandic men average 103 days of paid leave. – Increased paternity leave increases women’s participation in the labor force, improves their income and career outcomes, as well as their maternal and mental health. It also reduces parenting stress for both parents.

Involved Fathers Raise Better Humans

– The children of involved fathers are statistically proven to have higher/better: empathy, social skills, cognitive development, mental health, and academic achievement. – Adjusting for gender, the sons of attentive dads are less prone to delinquency.

Involved Fathers Are Better Humans

– The benefits are as powerful for the fathers as they are for the kids. Involved fathers are statistically proven to avoid substance abuse more and live longer. – Speaking of abuse, empathetic bonds between father and child also curb the father’s tendency toward violence, which is a good thing because …

There’s Still An Epidemic Of Domestic Violence

– Globally, 1-in-3 women experiences violence at the hands of a male partner in her lifetime — a statistic so staggering that the World Health Organization deems it an epidemic. – Violence against pregnant women ranges from a low of 2 percent in Australia, Cambodia, Denmark, and the Philippines to 14 percent in Uganda. – Seventy five percent of children ages 2-to-14 still experience violence as a form of discipline in low- and middle-income nations.

Fathers Are The Key To Gender Equality

– Arguably the report’s biggest takeaway is it’s most obvious: When women are forced to carry the bulk of domestic and child-raising responsibilities, they’re held back from achievements both academic and economic. – The global Women’s Rights movement still talks primarily in terms of assuring that women have what men have. But the way forward should also be seen in terms of men having what women have: an equal stake in the raising and welfare of their kids.

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