If you can’t wait until to September to join the debate then here’s a summary of ten conversations about dads that have been taking place in the media in the past month.
And if you haven’t booked you place at this year’s conference why not take action and buy your tickets online today here…
1. One Million Children Growing Up Without Dads
The Centre for Social Justice (the centre right think tank set up by the former Conservative Party leader Ian Duncan Smith) released a report on fatherhood in the run up to Fathers’ Day. The report warned that a “tsunami” of family breakdown was creating “man deserts” with a million children now growing up without fathers. Responses ranged from Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail saying the the “national experiment in fatherlessness” was costing the country £49 billion a year to “Scouse Bird” in The Guardian saying that fatherless was the result of Liverpool mums not putting up with the stupid, incompetent, gobshite behaviour of dads! The Centre for Social Justice is now shifting its focus to researching some of the barriers dads face to father involvement—they probably won’t be asking “Scouse Bird ” for advice!
2. The Left Needs to Talk About Dads Too
David Lammy continues to be the Labour MP who seems to be most concerned about fatherhood and while he didn’t endorse the tone of the Centre for Social Justice report he said “at least the right is engaged in this issue…..hen did a left-leaning thinktank last publish a report about fatwhers?” In the past month Lammy has submitted a report on fathers to Labour’s policy review and penned a commentary on fathers in The Guardian and and article on young fathers at Central Lobby.
3. The Media Discriminates Against Dads
Nine out of ten parents claim children’s shows don’t represent real-life dads and three out of ten say the way dads are portrayed in the media is a “subtle form of discrimination” according to a survey by netmums. “The type of jokes aimed at dads would be banned if they were aimed at women, ethnic minorities or religious groups” says Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard.
4. Dads Arent Duds. They Deserve Better
The Observer picked up on the Netmums survey in a positive editorial about dads to mark Fathers’ Day. “The majority of fathers want to spend more time with the family while research tells us the most stressed men are those who work full time and regret not having sufficient hours to ‘father'” said the Sunday newspaper.
5. Fathers 4 Justice Makes an Art of Protest
Fathers 4 Justice has had a colourful month heading to Westminster in June to launch a political petition sponsored by the Respect Party MP George Galloway and subsequently declaring that it was “refusing to deal with the government” after two high profile protests targeted works of art including a portrait of the Queen and Constable’s Haywain. The issue has sparked media debate include commentary by Ally Fogg in The Guardian, Iain Dale at Conservative Home and Glen Poole (part of national conference team) at The Good Men Project.
6. Courts Treat Dads Like Sperm Donors Says Author
The link between art and fathers’ rights was deepened further when the best-selling author of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernier—patron of the charity Families Need Fathers—spoke out on Fathers’ Day. He highlighted the “general mythologising of fathers as irrelevant and feckless abusers” and slammed the family courts for treating “fathers heartlessly as mere sperm donors and bankers”.
7. Gender Neutral Laws Discriminate Against Dads
“Gender neutral laws in a gender biased society, deliver gender biased outcomes” says Karen Woodall at the Centre for Separated Families. “Dads are discriminated against in family separation policy” she said last month, “that is why they are disaffected, disappearing and desperate. There is nothing more, nothing less to say about it. In a gender analysis, it is quite simply a fact. Now we either live with it (and the fatherless society that it creates) or we do something about it.”
8. Children Lack Male Authority Figures Says Gove
The Education Minister, Michael Gove, spoke out about the impact of fatherlessness on children at a Church of England seminar saying “more children are growing up in homes where the male authority figure will be fleeting or absent, where there will be what we now call ‘guesting parents……while it’s very far from being a majority of parents, manifestly, it is a growing and troubling minority and often concentrated in particular areas.”
9. It’s Time For Dads To Pull Their Weight
Gideon Burrows, author of the fatherhood book “Men Can Do It”, probably agrees with Michael Gove that children benefit from involved fathers, though it’s hard to imagine him using a phrase like “male authority figure”. Burrows is an advocate for men and women sharing childcare equally and says in The Guardian article “why men don’t pull their weight” that men only pay lip service to equal parenting.
10. Happy Gay Fathers’ Day
There are thought to be 12,000 same-sex couples raising children in the UK, an increase of 300 per cent since 2010 according to a feature in The Scotsman exploring the lives of gay dads north of the border.
And remember it doesn’t matter if your are of interest is young fathers, separated dads, dads sharing parenting, policy on fatherhood or the experience of gay, bisexual and transgender dads, whatever your interest in fatherhood you are welcome to join us at the The Third National Conference for Men and Boys.