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State of the World’s Fathers 2017: Time for Action





Influencing Gender Norms

Gender equality Unpaid care work Influencing gender norms Parenting Caregiving

State of the World’s Fathers 2017: Time for Action

State of the World’s Fathers 2017: Time for Action

The State of the World’s Fathers 2017: Time for Action report from Men Care presents a comprehensive global overview of trends related to equal caregiving, among other linked dynamics. It provides a synthesis of various global data sources on related topics – unpaid care work, sexual and reproductive health and rights, maternal health, men’s violence against women, and child development, among many others.

The presents overwhelming evidence of the need to prioritise equal division of care work among global health and development objectives. In the intervening years, many countries around the world have made policy changes toward these goals – even as others have seen notable setbacks. The 2017 report focuses on the actions that are needed to make progress.


  • Caregiving and unpaid care work are at the heart of any discussion of the state of the world’s fathers, and at the heart of gender inequality. For all the attention paid to unpaid care work, however, in no country in the world do men’s contributions to unpaid care work equal women’s.
  • The time and energy women spend on unpaid care work is one of the main factors that hold women back in their paid jobs. In East Asia and the Pacific, women’s unpaid work amounts to 3.8 hours per day. Although one of the lowest among the different regions, women’s daily average time spent on unpaid work is 3.6 times that of men.
  • At the same time, looking back to the first State of the World’s Fathers report released in 2015, there are examples from around the world affirming that change is possible. Many men want to be more involved in the lives of their children. Even in countries where men’s involvement in care work is limited, recent research found that half or more of the men surveyed said that they spent too little time with their children due to their job.
  • This report affirms that change – from the individual to the policy level – is happening. Significant obstacles notwithstanding, evidence, experience, and insight affirm that radical, transformational change in the division of unpaid care is achievable at a global level. Social norms, policies, and practices can be changed to encourage men and boys to do more unpaid care. In interviews carried out around the world with dozens of men who had taken on traditionally female-dominated caregiving roles, researchers found that unexpected life circumstances – situations that presented no alternative but to adopt a radical new way of being – had provided the impetus for the men’s transformed attitudes and new household or professional roles.
  • These men rose to a tremendous life challenge and emerged thriving in unexpected and more gender-equitable ways. Their experiences show that men and boys can be influenced to do their share of the care work; their stories do not come from an idealised, impossible world. The State of the World’s Fathers 2017 report, accordingly, urges mothers and fathers, caregivers of all kinds, communities of all sizes, and countries of all income levels to follow their lead.


  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1:
    • The Case for Equal Care Between Men and Women
    • Priorities for action
    • Policy focus: Poverty Alleviation and Subsidised Childcare
  • CHAPTER 2:
    • Encouraging Equal Care
    • Priorities for action
    • Policy focus: Father-Inclusive Parent Training
  • CHAPTER 3:
    • The Need for Paid, Equal, Non-Transferable Leave
    • Priorities for action
  • Conclusions
  • Action Plan
  • References
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