The 2019 Women Deliver Conference was the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women in the 21st century. More than 6,000 world leaders, influencers, advocates, academics, activists and journalists convened in Vancouver this week to accelerate progress for girls and women everywhere. To celebrate, Ms. is posting updates from the front lines.
Fifty minutes a day. That’s the amount of additional time men would need to contribute every day to caring for children and households to make a leap toward achieving gender equality in unpaid care, according to the third-ever State of the World’s Fathers report.
The report was produced by Promundo, co-coordinator of MenCare: A Global Fatherhood Campaign, which is active in over 50 countries; and conducted with Unilever, Dove Men+Care in seven countries and Plan International Canada in four countries. Drawing from interviews and surveys of nearly 12,000 individuals, it also includes cross-country data analysis from more than 30 countries and provides recommendations to close the unpaid care gap in support of achieving gender equality.
The new research across seven countries—Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Netherlands, UK and the U.S.—finds that 85 percent of fathers say that they would be willing to do anything to be very involved in the early weeks and months of caring for their newly born or adopted child. But the lack of adequate, paid paternity leave and low take-up of leave when it is available; restrictive gender norms that position care as women’s responsibility, alongside the perception of women as more competent caregivers than men; and a lack of economic security and government support for all parents and caregivers is holding them back.
“We must accelerate national commitments to support all children, parents and families to thrive, and to achieve men’s uptake of half of the daily care of children and of our homes—full stop,” Gary Barker, President & CEO of Promundo, said in a statement. “Anything less continues to perpetuate the inequalities that women and girls face every day.”
The global report calls for countries, employers and civil society to commit to accelerate action and support men’s increased participation in unpaid care work. The report was launched alongside the MenCare Commitment, aimed at facilitating an enabling environment where men take on 50 percent of the unpaid care work by 2030. It also supports fathers to put their intentions to care into action by, at a minimum, taking on an additional 50 minutes a day.
No country in the world has achieved equality in unpaid care work, or pay equality, between men and women. The progress is incredibly slow. Analysis of time use data finds that if men took on at least 50 minutes more care per day—and women did 50 minutes less—we would tip the scale toward equality.
Unilever’s Dove Men+Care and Promundo released the findings at the 2019 Women Deliver Conference, and also launched a global Paternity Leave Corporate Task Force on-site—a member-led and owned alliance that aims to identify, promote, accelerate and bring to scale commercially and societally sustainable solutions that will result in improved access and uptake of paternity leave for all men. (Women Deliver is a member of the new Paternity Leave Corporate Task Force.)
“There are significant inequalities in caregiving and women continue to shoulder a disproportionate share of unpaid care,” said Susan Papp, Managing Director of Policy and Advocacy at Women Deliver. “As advocates, Women Deliver welcomes new evidence as a powerful tool for driving action and change. The State of the World’s Fathers report arms us with the information we need to push for a more gender equal world.”