By Dr Holly Birkett and Dr Sarah Forbes
Co-directors of the Equal Parenting Project
There’s so much good work ongoing in supporting fathers to make the transition to more family-focussed work practices, and this is why it is important to celebrate the best of these initiatives with the Working Dads Employer Awards 2023
On Sunday 18th June, many families will be marking Father’s Day, celebrating the role that dads play in raising children. Parents have faced increasing challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis. Families are changing and so are approaches to parenting, including the roles and responsibilities of fathers.
This is why our work at the Birmingham Business School and York School for Business and Society, looking at how best to support parents through the astonishing journey of raising a child has become more important than ever. In particular, our Equal Parenting Project’s research by Dr Holly Birkett and Dr Sarah Forbes on fathers in the workplace has taken on a real significance in informing debates over child welfare and gender inequality, and supported fathers to take on more caring responsibilities.
We know that more and more fathers want to play an active role in their families’ lives but that in many instances, key cultural barriers and stigma exist, preventing access to flexible, family-orientated working practices. Progress has been made in some areas during the pandemic with flexible working: it is vital we build on this and seize the opportunities presented to us, rather than let things regress to the way they were before 2020.
There’s so much good work ongoing in supporting fathers to make the transition to more family-focussed work practices, and this is why it is important to celebrate the best of these initiatives with the Working Dads Employer Awards 2023, held by the Equal Parenting Project in conjunction with Elliott Rae from Music Football Fatherhood.
The awards, which will be held on the 21st June 2023, will be presented by Andrew Gwynne MP, Chair of the Fatherhood APPG, Caroline Noakes MP, Chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee and Anna Whitehouse, founder of Mother Pukka, and celebrate the great work many organisations are doing in supporting fathers in the workplace. The aim of the awards is to recognise best practice, encourage employers to think more about what they do in this space and how they can better support fathers in the future to aid working families, attract and retain top talent, help close the gender pay gap, and promote gender equality in the workplace.
The awards will have four key categories Leadership and Culture, Flexible Working, Support for Returning Fathers and Parenting Policies. One of the objectives of these awards is to celebrate best practice and encourage continuous improvement in how organisations support fathers in the workplace. In order to further this objective, we will be presenting four case studies from SMEs and multinationals across the UK.
Partner organisations instrumental in bringing these timely awards include Business in the Community, CIPD, Working Families, Global Equality Collective, Pregnant and Screwed, Fatherhood Institute, Future Men and the Medical Women’s Federation.
There is great potential here to make a real difference, for parents and for children. We need to keep recognising the fantastic work organisations up and down the country are doing and continue the push for gender equality in the workplace and in childcare.
- More about Dr Holly Birkett at the University of Birmingham
- More about Dr Sarah Forbes at the University of York
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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Birmingham.