Over the past 30 years, the role of U.S. fathers has evolved as dads have increased the amount of time they spend with their children by nearly a third. While we’ve come a long way, there’s more work to do, especially when it comes to providing fathers with the time and support they need to take time off work after the birth of a child. In fact, while nearly two thirds of dads state they have quit or would consider changing jobs to be more involved in the early weeks and months of caring for a newborn or adopted child, only 15% of U.S. men have access to paid paternity leave benefits, and of those new dads, most don’t take their full time off.
That’s why this Father’s Day, Dove Men+Care is launching a global campaign to champion paternity leave for dads. The brand is aiming to challenge stereotypes around men as caregivers and spark a cultural movement around paid paternity leave by:
- Driving awareness around the issue through a council of advisors, partners and experts, coupled with new proprietary fatherhood research
- Providing new dads with resources like the Dove Men+Care digital hub, which includes information and guidance for men considering taking paternity leave, the benefits of taking leave, advice from real dads who have taken leave, and how to approach and advocate for paternity leave at work
- Encouraging our own employees to challenge stereotypes by taking their full paternity leave time off
- Helping improve policies through corporate collaboration and partnerships
This initiative is important to Dove Men+Care because when men have access to, and utilize, paid time off to care for their families, they report many benefits. 87% feel more satisfied overall with their lives, and additional studies show that paternity leave also improves outcomes for children, and helps increase gender equity at home and at the workplace.
“Since we launched in 2010, Dove Men+Care has communicated that modern masculinity is defined by the way men care,” said Nick Soukas, VP of Skin Cleansing & Baby Care for Unilever. “By supporting this important initiative, our goal is to increase utilization rates of paid paternity leave for those men who have access to it and encourage other companies to come together and offer men paid paternity leave so they can take the time to care for their families.”
To further explore this critical issue impacting men, women, and their families, Dove Men+Care and Promundo-US partnered to carry out a pioneering study about what keeps fathers from taking paternity leave and being the fully involved caregivers they want to be. Our research found that fathers want to do their share of the caregiving; but limited societal expectations hold them back. 71% of dads agree there is little workplace support for fathers and one in five men stated they were afraid of losing their job if they took the full amount of paternity leave offered.
“The vast majority of dads today want to be completely involved in their children’s lives from day one,” said Josh Levs, author and leading paternity leave expert. “Yet the lack of paid paternity leave in the U.S., societal stigmas around taking leave, and fears of repercussions at work still prevent most working fathers from having time to stay home for caregiving. Dove Men+Care is hoping to change the conversation around this issue and showcase how paternity leave is critical for all: children, women, men, and families.”
Crowdfunding Online Paid Family Leave Requests
As a result of the hardships many families face when taking unpaid time off work for the birth of a child, men and women are turning to new ways to support themselves during this important life moment – including online crowdfunding – and Dove Men+Care wants to help. To shine a light on the burden most families who don’t have paid leave face, we’ve made one-time surprise contributions to 27 active crowdfunding paid family leave requests of real dads and their families across the country.
#DearFutureDads – Advice for Future Dads
To celebrate fatherhood and showcase the importance of taking the time to care, Dove Men+Care is also launching a new film called ‘Dear Future Dads.’ The film features a diverse group of dads sharing advice and personal anecdotes for current, expectant and new dads on why taking the time to care for their children is so important. Some of the moments captured in ’Dear Future Dads’ include:
- Bryce A. – a dad who shares that he wouldn’t trade the time he took for paternity leave for anything in the world because the bond he developed in the first three months brought his family closer.
- Terrance C. – a first-time dad who was only afforded one week of paid paternity leave when his daughter was born but knew the importance of taking this time to bond with her as he didn’t have a close relationship with his own dad.
- Marion V. – a dad who took a hiatus from his job as a college professor to focus on caring for his family when he and his partner welcomed two little girls into their lives.
The ‘New Dad Care Package’ Program
Dove Men+Care continues to demonstrate its commitment to dads from the very start of the fatherhood journey through the ‘New Dad Care Package’ hospital program, currently in its fourth year. The program equips dads with our skin, hair and deodorant products, as well as Baby Dove Tip to Toe wash, to ensure they have access to the basic personal care tools they need to take care of themselves and their new families during the busy and exciting time. To date, we’ve distributed 40,000 care packages to new dads through our extensive network of hospital partners, and plan to reach 20,000 new dads over the next year.