Engaging Men in Unpaid Care Work: An Advocacy Brief for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Unpaid care work is one of the key drivers of women’s inequality. In Eastern Europe, it is also an element in continuing low fertility as the prospect of having to shoulder most of the unpaid care forces women to choose between having children and having a career. Over the past 10 years, new data on men and gender relations has emerged from the region. Such data provides evidence on ways in which equality in caregiving is good not only for women’s empowerment and children’s well-being, but how men’s caregiving is also good for men themselves. Research shows that involved fathers feel more emotionally connected to their partners and to their children, and that they live happier, longer lives.

This advocacy brief for Eastern Europe and Central Asia explores how men’s (and women’s) beliefs, attitudes, and practices – as well as weak societal support for shared caregiving – impact gender equality at the household level. The brief highlights the need to transform men’s gender-inequitable practices in relation to family life – and dismantle the underlying factors that perpetuate inequality. The brief also contains key recommendations for policymakers and practitioners on how to transform the state of fathers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. These recommendations will serve as advocacy “action points” for countries that belong to the Eastern European and Central Asia (EECA) MenEngage Platform.