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Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 01:27 GMT 02:27 UK
Dads 'cling to traditional role'
family
Most fathers still think of themselves mainly as the breadwinner rather than being equally involved with running a home and family, new research has revealed.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) said its study identified four types of father, ranging from older men who believed in traditional role models, to those who did as much work in the home as their wives.

Different dads
Enforcer dad
Entertainer dad
Useful dad
Involved dad

Fathers dubbed "fully involved dads" were more likely to enjoy flexible working arrangements and were more likely to leave work on time, the research suggested.

EOC chairwoman Julie Mellor said: "Mums and dads should be able to choose how they want to share the responsibilities of bringing up children and working outside the home.

"But until we have equal pay, decent childcare and more opportunities to work flexible hours, many fathers will continue to find it hard to be there for their children; and many women will continue to lose out at work.

"This is not necessarily the best solution for parents, children or employers."

Four fathers

The study involved 60 fathers and their partners, as well as information from three focus groups.

It showed that although many men realised the importance of "being there" for their children they also tended to play a supporting role at home rather than taking equal responsibility for caring and domestic tasks.

The fact that women earned less than men, and the high cost of childcare, were given as the main reasons why mothers took responsibility for looking after children.

The four types of father identified in the study were:

  • Enforcer dad: Not involved with the day-to-day care of children. He sees the most important aspects of being a father as providing a role model and clear rules for his children.
  • Entertainer dad: Often entertains the children while the mother does things like cooking and cleaning.
  • Useful dad: Helps out with day-to-day childcare and household tasks, but still tends to take the lead from the mother about what needs doing.
  • Fully involved dad: Is equally involved with running the home and family, at least some of the time. The mother and father roles are virtually interchangeable in his family.

    The EOC said most fathers fell into the middle two categories.

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Carole Jones
    "Men find it difficult to cut their hours"
    See also:

    04 Oct 01 | Education
    18 Jun 00 | UK
    12 Jun 00 | Scotland
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