Maria Miller MP was delighted to join University of Birmingham at the launch of "Fathers in the Workplace Toolkit".
The innovative toolkit has been created by the Equal Parenting Project team led by Dr Holly Birkett and Dr Sarah Forbes. It is a one-stop shop toolkit which contains a range of practical resources to better support fathers at work and give parents more choices around childcaring in the early years including
How to set up an inclusive parenting group which encourages fathers to be more involved
Guidance on how to effectively implement a returners programme for fathers who have taken longer periods of leave
Information on developing an organisational ‘parenting passport’, a document which records important information about a parent’s caring responsibilities and support needs, helping to create an understanding between the parent employee and their organisation so they don’t have to keep repeating these as they move around the organistion
The toolkit based on extensive research which found that fathers very often want to take more time to care for their children, and majority of younger fathers (68%) say they would consider their childcare needs before taking a new job or promotion. Despite these changing attitudes, fathers do not always feel able to make use of the policies available to them.
According to the Equal Parenting Project, the key barriers fathers face include cultural norms around maternal caring, financial disincentives, lack of understanding of the policy including poor and its benefits and concerns about career development as a result of taking leave.
Chairing the event Maria said; “I welcome this innovative toolkit which will help support fathers to better balance working life with family commitments. I know from my work as Chair for Women and Equalities Committee, and the Fathers and the workplace inquiry, many men want to take a greater role in caring for their children but face a number of barriers from cultural attitudes to statutory paternity pay, parental leave and flexible working.
Parental leave and the gender pay gap are closely linked and dads are calling for change. Until we get it right for dads we can’t get it right for mums.”
Dr Holly Birkett from the Equal Parenting Project said: "Our research at the Equal Parenting Project has uncovered huge numbers of fathers across the UK who want to spend more time caring in the first year after birth or adoption but face barriers which stop them doing so. In response we have designed the Fathers in the Workplace Toolkit to help organisations break down these barriers offering practical advice and tools, all freely available in one place, to better communicate what is available to fathers and families, to help organisations write more inclusive policies and help with developing a culture more supportive of fathers at work.”
Dr Sarah Forbes who is also from the Equal Parenting Project said: "So many fathers want to care in the first year but don't because of barriers around communication, finances and cultural norms in the workplace and beyond. This toolkit helps organisations break down these barriers and give fathers more choices.”
The Fathers in the Work Place toolkit is available online. You can also follow the launch on Twitter by using #ThisDadCan