Fathers staying at home to look after kids should be cultural norm
Men staying at home for the same amount of time as women to bring up their children should become commonplace, says a minister today.
The Minister for Women, Harriet Harman, says fathers should demand flexible working hours after their children are born, and that both parents should spend equal amounts of time working and raising their children.
Her call comes amid growing pressure from ministers on mothers to go back to work to ensure their family stays out of poverty.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Harman said: ‘It must be the cultural norm for both mothers and fathers to work flexibly, so they can balance earning a living while bringing up their children.
‘Fathers play a vital role in bringing their children up and most want to make more time for them. And children need their dads – whether they live with them or not.
‘But most fathers simply don’t know or take advantage of their rights. Many men find it difficult to ask their employer to work flexibly, and we need to challenge this.’
Harman’s comments come just as a Government-funded organisation, The Fatherhood Institute, aimed at encouraging parents to spend equal time at home and work, is relaunched.
The institute calls for more parental leave for men and a cut in the hours they work so they can become more hands-on at home. It’s sole aim is to ‘support both mothers and fathers as earners and carers and prepare boys and girls for a future shared role in caring for children’.