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We need change tables in men’s rooms for gender equality in parenting

The role of dad in family life has shifted incredibly within the last 50 years. Men were long considered the family cash cow, providing a roof over their family’s heads, a secure environment for their children to grow up in and working long hours to make all that possible.

But more often than ever, men are taking on the role of stay-at-home parent as women take to the workforce as breadwinners for the family instead. But father and family blogger, Clint Greagen, says men are pushed away from accepting nurturing roles because societal norms don’t allow for gender equality in parenting.

He says things like advertising of children’s products, online parenting information and even family events are so excluding of male participation, that men feel alienated by the concept of being an involved father.

“Despite more men being involved in parenting there is a still an underlying societal message that men don’t quite belong in the caring role,” Greagen says, adding that the lack of change tables in men’s rooms and the use of the word “mother” in information, where the word “parent” would have been much more accurate, excludes men from the family domain.

“That’s just a very small list of the many ways men are subtly and overtly influenced away from really accepting their great potential as parents, to really consider that they have more options available to them than just being the walking wallet for the family,” he says.

So often, men are asked to stand up to the challenge of being a domestic god, a nurturing father and a house husband, but the messages men receive about the role they play in this area are conflicting and actually push them away from getting involved at all, Greagen says.

When was the last time a nappy commercial featured a man instead of a woman helping little Jimmy on the change table? How often do we see “Parents and Bubs” events held at the local cinemas? And why are there so few baby change tables in men’s rooms?

These are the questions Greagen poses, all of which, he says, contribute to the message men receive, which is: “Hey, good on you for trying, but just shrug and grunt and hand your baby over to Mum. Women are the ones who should do the bulk of the child care.”

What do you think? Do you think there is too much focus on women being in parenting roles? And should men be more empowered to take on fatherhood? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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