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Are Working Dads Stepping up at Home?

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"Half of the world's parents are men," says Brad Harrington, Executive Director, Center for Work & Family or Center for Work and Family and Associate Research Professor, Carroll School of Management, Boston College. "And yet, so often, men are so noticeably absent in terms of the conversations around work and family."

Do working dads want to be part of the conversation?

That's a bad news/good news story, said Harrington in the second installment of Families and Work Institute's ten-part Work-Life Talks video series.

We share Harrington's video today, the first day of National Work and Family Month, because his talk focused on men, a group that's too often pushed to the sidelines of the work and family discussion in this country.

As for working dads and their changing roles, there's still a long way to go.

The bad news:

In a study of working fathers at Fortune 500 companies conducted by the Center for Work and Family,

  • 76% of fathers said they took a week or less off following the birth of their child
  • 96% percent took two weeks or less
  • And 16% didn't take any time off at all.

"That's drastically insufficient in order for a man to become immersed in the great responsibility of being a father and a parent," Harrington stressed.

The good news: Working fathers said that during an average work day, they spent 2.5 hours with their children. 77% of dads said they wanted to spend more time with their children than they did currently, and 22 % said about the same. And when asked what were the characteristics that made for a good dad, Harrington continued, being breadwinner came in fourth -- behind providing love and support, being a role model and being present in their child's life.

Additional videos will be posted on the Institute's YouTube channel one every few weeks. Here's a list of all the speakers that will be featured in the coming weeks:

Rosalind Chait Barnett, PhD, Senior Scientist, Women's Studies Research Center, Brandeis University; Lisa Belkin, former New York Times Motherlode blogger and now Huffington Post's Senior Columnist on Life/Work/Family; Ellen Bravo, Executive Director of Family Values @ Work; Stewart D. Friedman, PhD, Practice Professor of Management, Director of the Work/Life Integration Project, The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Bradley K. Googins, PhD, Professor, Carroll School of Management and Founder of Boston College Center for Work & Family; Arlene A. Johnson, recently Mayor of Livingston, NJ, former Vice President at WFD Consulting, former Catalyst and The Conference Board leader; Sylvia Ann Hewlett, PhD President and CEO, Center for Talent Innovation, author of Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets: Why Women Are the Solution; and Deborah M. Stahl, Deborah Stahl Consulting, former Director of the AT&T Family Care Development Fund.