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.
The subjective nature of fatherhood and the psychological impact of making the transition to fatherhood is a relatively new area of research. The goal is to create a body of knowledge that reflects the profound changes in men's understanding of their role as father and maps the psychological, sociological, economic and health effects of these changes.
We are still in the early stages when it comes to taking the results from our research and helping health professionals and related practitioners make tangible changes in their practices that might improve the support of fathers in their role as caregiver.
The aim of this site is to present existing research driven knowledge on the psychological, sociological, health and other aspects of fatherhood, and to inspire future research into these issues.
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.
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.
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.
Transitions hold great learning potentials, and the transition from manhood to fatherhood is no exception. The benefits are multiple – both for the father-to-be, the child and the partner. But realising this potential requires further research into how best to design, run and evaluate male-only programmes and sessions.
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.