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 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 14:00 GMT
Fathers want more time with children
father and baby
Many fathers want to spend more time at home
Fathers of young children are involved in a third of their childcare but would do more if their jobs were flexible, new research shows.

Dads spend much more time with youngsters than a generation ago, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) found.

But Britain's culture of long hours at work prevented men from being more involved in childcare, the EOC said.

The research found fathers were happy to take their children to school, put them to bed and feed them - and wanted to do more.

These statistics pose a challenge to employers

Fathers Direct

Almost two out of five fathers worked more than 48 hours a week and one in eight worked at least 60 hours, the survey of 7,500 workers showed.

Half of employers did not offer any form of flexible working, the report showed.

The EOC urged employers to promote more family friendly working practices.

"Many dads are spending far more time with their family than their own fathers did, but it is difficult for them to do more while they work such long hours," said EOC chairwoman Julie Mellor.

"The knock-on effect is that women often have little choice about how they balance work and family."

In the mid 1970s, fathers of children under five devoted less than 15 minutes a day to child-related activities, compared to over two hours by the late 1990s, the survey showed.

Jack O'Sullivan, chief executive of campaign group Fathers Direct said the study showed there had been a "revolution" in fatherhood.

"These statistics also pose a challenge to employers and the state benefit system which still offer few concessions to fatherhood," he said.

See also:

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