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Shifting deckchairs on the Titanic

Responding to the Government’s response to our ‘6 weeks for dads’ petition

The Government’s response to our petition calling for six weeks’ well-paid leave for new fathers in the UK - signed by more than 14,000 people across the UK - is as inadequate as it is unequivocal.

It fails to address the clear need for reform of a system that positions mothers as fully responsible for hands-on childcare, and fathers as economic providers unencumbered by caregiving responsibilities, in their baby’s first year.

This represents a major missed opportunity to invest in paternal care – one that is to the detriment not just of Britain’s fathers, but of their children, their children’s mothers, and wider society.

International evidence has identified multiple benefits associated with fathers taking time off work to care for their infants, all with the potential to drive increased economic output and reduced costs to the public purse.

These include improved father-child attachment, leading to improved child outcomes; improved relationships between parents, leading to reductions in separation and divorce; and facilitation of increased father-involvement in childcare, leading to enhanced gender equality (especially when fathers take solo parental leave).

You can read the full text of the Government's response, here.

We have put together a response to the Government's response, which you can download below.

Shifting deckchairs on the Titanic petition response
Download PDF • 273KB

You can also watch a recording of a presentation by our Head of Impact & Communications, Dr Jeremy Davies, at the Future Men 'Agenda Dad' session, held online on 6 February, here.

We will continue to campaign for the changes we proposed in the petition, and we look forward to sharing more details with our supporters as this work develops. In the meantime, we would urge mothers, fathers, employers and others to support the campaign by sharing your stories, and writing to your MPs: please head over to our previous blog for more details.


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