Wednesday, 28 April 2010

First poll results show polarisation on fathers’ part-time working

My first poll, run for most of April has now closed. It asked whether people knew fathers who wanted to work part-time. The poll was conducted online on two separate sites, and the results suggest that different interest groups may still retain polarised views on this issue. What this small sample also highlights is that where you look for answers can influence the results that you find.

While a significant minority across both polls knew one father who wanted to work part-time, the majority view was opposed at the other ends of the spectrum. On this blog’s poll, the majority (50%) know lots of fathers who want to work part-time. The other poll, conducted on a business networking site, showed that a larger majority (62%) did not know any fathers who wanted to work part-time.

The sample of fathers in my PhD research were overwhelmingly opposed to part-time working as it was associated with women, low pay, and low status jobs. Flexible working patterns were viewed far more favourably.

The results from this blog’s poll, favouring part-time working for fathers, suggest that the ways we organise – and value - work really do need to enable diverse practices.

Poll Results:
1. I know lots of fathers who want to work part-time:
Blog poll: 50% Business Poll: 12%

2. I know one father who wants to work part-time:
Blog poll: 33% Business Poll: 25%

3. I don’t know any fathers who want to work part-time:

Blog poll: 16% Business Poll: 62%

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Last day to vote in fathers and part-time working poll

If you haven't done so yet, vote in my poll. All April, I've been asking people to vote on whether they know any fathers who want to work part-time. If you want to have your say, then vote in this blog's poll (in the lefthand sidebar of this blog).

Results and analysis from different sources in tomorrow.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Just launched! Duncan Fisher’s new book sales to fund early parenthood support

Baby’s Here: Who Does What? Duncan Fisher’s newly published book about sharing parenting roles – not just swapping - is now available on Amazon. Sales from this book will help to fund the distribution of information to new parents through maternity services. A big and respected voice in the debates about mothers and fathers, who earns and who cares, Duncan was a co-founder of the Fatherhood Institute and has been awarded an OBE for services to children.

To all fathers, mothers and social citizens, please help to make a difference and join the debates.

For more about Duncan, visit

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Working from home....fathers who break the mould

Working from home can provide a convenient option for juggling work, care and life. But it has its problems too. My article on how fathers can break the status quo by working from home can be viewed on the Enterprise Nation website. Enterprise Nation is a free resource for home businesses.

Any other dads out there who work from home or are thinking of doing so? And mums, what do you think?

Alex Johnson is a dad who works from home. And he certainly has a shedload of tips for others who do the same. Seriously, I mean a shedload.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

A mother's care is seen as primary and best

Widespread social attitudes about both work and care are still deeply gendered. The result is that fathers continue to be seen - by others and themselves - as secondary carers for their children. This is the predominant view that was expressed by fathers in my research. A mother's care was often seen as more essential to children - especially infants and young toddlers. Expressions of a mother's care as best were linked to issues of biological reproduction, cultural upbringing, and many fathers feelings of inadequacy as male carers. Despite huge changes in women's rights and gender equalities in the UK, society as a whole still needs to look more honestly at how we box both care and work into gendered roles.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Do fathers want to work part time?

In my research, reduced work hours was a practice most frequently and acceptably practiced by the fathers’ partners (the mothers). Six fathers had formally reduced their working hours but 21 mothers were either working reduced hours or had stopped working as a consequence of motherhood. Reduced hours was not a constant trend in any one fathers’ working life. Interestingly, Tom (who had reduced his work week to 30 hours) did not refer to his work pattern as being a part-time.

I am running a poll on this blog to see how many men people know who want to work part-time. Is part-time working something that men (and especially fathers) would choose to do? Or, is part-time working for women only?

Take part in the poll and add any comments here.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Flexible working for fathers

Barack Obama spoke out yesterday about the need for flexible workplace options for both men and women (click here). In the UK, flexible work practices are widely lauded although its policy implementation is widely voluntaristic and individualised.

Mine and other research suggests that flexibility can enhance work-life balance for families (Dermott 2008: 6; Hill et al., 2001 cited in Vandeweyer and Glorieux 2008: 272; Lamb et al 1987: 115). However, much research also suggests that flexible working is not always a positive solution for workers (Moss 1995: xiv; Brandth and Kvande 2002; Christensen and Staines 1990 cited in Vandeweyer and Glorieux 2008: 272; Pollert 1988 cited in Crompton 2006: 5; Lamb et al 1987; O’Brien and Shemilt 2003).

While flexible options, particularly part-time working, are more frequently taken up by women, many fathers use some form of flexible working to help their family's work life balance. This is often through the use of either informal or formal flexi-time arrangements, or through home working.

What are your experiences? Do you work from home? Does your employer offer flexi-time solutions that suit your child care needs?