More stay-at-home dads than ever before

// 26 June 2009

More men are stay-at home dads in Britain than ever before, according to a report published this month.

Research conducted by Tesco’s Baby & Toddler Club found that since April 2008 the number of full-time fathers has risen from 192,000 to 342,000, which is an increase of 80 per cent. The report also found that seven in ten mothers and fathers share parental responsibilities regardless of who stays at home.

While the Metro says that changing social attitudes and the supposed emergence of the “sensitive new man” is the primary reason for this development, more emphasis needs to be placed on increased unemployment resulting from the credit crunch, which means that this is not necessarily a conscious decision for a lot of men.

These statistics have been presented in such a way as to suggest that men are fast becoming primary child carers, failing to show the number of stay-at-home mothers by comparison – specifically the percentage of homes where there is both a stay-at-home dad and a stay-at-home mum.

While these results are said to represent the dissolution of traditional gender roles in Britain, the nature of this as a report specifically analysing the role of fathers suggests that the stay-at-home dad is still considered an unusual phenomeneon.The subtext to the media coverage it has been given also suggests that men who do favour domesticity should be praised, despite the fact women have been staying at home and caring for their children for generations.

Tsk! This is why very few gender based surveys ever do anything but bolster gender stereotypes.

Comments From You

David Kames // Posted 26 June 2009 at 11:33 pm

Tesco’s Baby & Toddler Club?

The Metro?

I’d like to wait for more rep sources to make firm judgements.

Having said that – it might be that this current recession/depression helps to jolt some people into seeing that they’re in a partnership where the female partner actually has better earning potential than the male partner – and the earning/caring balance changes accordingly – perhaps for the long term. It might even be the case that a few Dads find out that they actually like being the primary care giver to their small kids more than Mum does, might even be better at it….

maggie // Posted 27 June 2009 at 10:14 am

For a brief time, when our eldest was a baby, my husband worked part-time and took care of her on his days off. He loved it.

I volunteer my help with a toddlers group. We changed our name from mums and tots because the demograph of the carers were changing within the group. Many grandparents join, male and female and usually as a couple, though the men are happy to be there on their own. There has also been a father or two, but alas rarely at the same time and when it does happen the men seem happier. Having men in the group, whatever their age, is great. It makes it more equal. The children are happy too. We call ourselves the carers’ and toddler group now.

Akela // Posted 29 June 2009 at 8:38 am

I’m a chap who would quite happily become a full time dad, I simply see it as part and parcel of having a baby. It takes two people to produce one so why shouldn’t both parents do their bit in terms of bringing it up? I am though perfectly aware that many of my friends and family would find this quite a strange concept. My parents in particular would find it a very odd concept. We also have friends who already struggle with the fact that my partner earns more than me, and that drives me round the bend. Why shouldn’t she?

However in terms of the mediacoverage I would disagree with Abby, I think coverage like this would encourage men to do more parenting. Men tend to be a tribal group and if they realise that they are not alone and that other men are increasingly becoming full time Dad’s then it will encourage them.

Have Your say

To comment, you must be registered with The F-Word. Not a member? Register. Already a member? Use the sign in button below

Sign in to the F-Word

Further Reading

Has The F-Word whet your appetite? Check out our Resources section, for listings of feminist blogs, campaigns, feminist networks in the UK, mailing lists, international and national websites and charities of interest.

Write for us!

Got something to say? Something to review? News to discuss? Well we want to hear from you! Click here for more info

  • The F-Word on Twitter
  • The F-Word on Facebook
  • Our XML Feeds