The Role of Fathers in Parenting for Gender Equality

This paper presents an emerging body of evidence, which affirms that positive father engagement in the lives of their children – much like positive involvement of mothers and other significant caregivers – is associated with a series of early child development outcomes as well as improved quality of family environment and relationships. It presents constraints which stand in the way of realizing the potential of men as fully involved fathers and caregivers, such as: restrictive gender norms and a lack of policies and supportive enabling environment; shares emerging and promising fatherhood and parenting support interventions; and offers evidence-based recommendations on how to improve research, policies, and programs in order to promote men’s active engagement as fathers.

This paper was prepared for the Expert Group Meeting on “Families in Development: Focus on Modalities for IYF+30, Parenting Education and the Impact of COVID-19,” organized by the Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) in June 2020.