Men: although we’re preparing to celebrate Father’s Day in many countries around the world, we have to do more.
I don’t always endear myself to my guy friends when I say things like that – but it comes from experience. Two years ago, I was part of the team that launched the first ever State of the World’s Fathers report, presenting an analysis of global research. We found that when it comes to caring for children, and in terms of helping women to achieve the lives they deserve, men really matter.
If we do our share of the care work (changing children’s nappies, doing the laundry), we make our communities and countries better places. That’s not idle talk; it’s a conclusion reached from looking at hundreds of studies. Furthermore, where men and women share household chores, and where we are closer to gender equality, murder rates are lower, and our countries are less likely to be in conflict.
Persuasive, isn’t it?
This week, we launched the second State of the World’s Fathers report, through the MenCare Campaign. I wish I could offer some good news. Our conclusions are that, as a global average, women still do about three times more of the daily unpaid care work than men. (In middle and higher income countries, that figure is slightly better: women do about twice as much in Europe and North America.)
There is still a huge deficit in terms of the childcare and housework that men pick up.
When I tell this to men, the comment that often comes back runs like this: ‘OK, but when you add in all the work we do outside the home, don’t we work just as long?’ Well, no. When you take paid and unpaid work into account, in every region of the world, women work more hours than we do.