Events

Community, Work and Family – 8th International Conference 2019

23 May 2019 – Centre for Labour Studies – University of Malta

Flexibility and fatherhood in Europe: What influences fathers to get involved in care?

 

How does gender shape our lives?

8th November 2017 –  ESRC Festival of Social Science public event, The Pankhurst Centre, 60-62 Nelson Street, Manchester

How does gender shape our lives? …What influences dads to be more involved in their children’s care?

In this talk, Helen reflects on how work-family policy affects fathers’ involvement in childcare, and discusses what else makes fathers more involved in their children’s upbringing. She also reflects on how policy could be developed to help dads get more involved at home.

 

Fathers, family and gender in the workplace: pursuing pathways to research impact and engagement

1 November 2017 – Lancaster University Conference Centre, Lancaster

What makes fathers involved in their children’s care? Analysing paternal involvement from nine months to seven years post birth

Helen will present the latest findings from the project

Abstract: What influences fathers to be involved in their children’s care is an important question in policy, organisational and academic debates. Yet these debates focus overwhelmingly on the immediate post-birth and pre-school period of parenthood (e.g. Norman et al. 2014; Fagan and Norman 2016; Eurofound 2015; Miller 2011). Exploring what influences fathers to be involved when children over time, as children get older, is an under-researched but equally important area given its association with gender equality in paid and unpaid work, as well as child wellbeing and development.

To address this shortfall, we build on earlier analysis (Norman et al 2014; Norman and Elliot 2015; Fagan and Norman 2016) using the UK’s Millennium Cohort Survey (MCS) to explore what influences paternal involvement in childcare at different stages of the child’s life. Using multiple regression, we explore the multivariate relationship between paternal involvement and various employment, demographic and attitudinal variables when the child is aged nine months, three, five and seven years old. We establish which variables are the most important for shaping paternal involvement in childcare at different stages of the child’s life. We also explore whether taking leave from work after the birth and/or being involved in the immediate post-birth period affects how involved fathers are as children grow older.

 

Transition to parenthood in a cross-cultural context (TRIAD) Researcher workshop: Pathways to Impact

9 October 2017 – University of Manchester, Manchester

The example of our research partnership with Working Families

Abstract: Generating ‘impact’ is an important goal in research because it demonstrates that the work will make a significant contribution to society and the economy (Economic and Social Research Council 2016). In this presentation, Helen Norman and Colette Fagan reflect on the pathways mapped out to generate impact from our fatherhood project. In particular, we focus on how we developed our research partnership with a third sector organisation – Working Families – through previous research, events and via other network connections. We also reflect on the quantitative and qualitative work carried out for the project, and offer some suggestions on how to communicate findings, particularly complex quantitative methods and results, to non-specialist audiences.

 

Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas – special seminar

18 September 2017 – Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas, University of Lisbon, Portugal

What influences paternal involvement in childcare over the child’s lifecourse?

Abstract: What influences fathers to be involved in their children’s care is an important question in policy, organisational and academic debates. Yet these debates focus overwhelmingly on the immediate post-birth and pre-school period of parenthood (e.g. see Norman et al. 2014; Fagan and Norman 2016; 2017; Eurofound 2015; Dermott 2008). Exploring what influences fathers to be involved when children are older is an under-researched but equally important area given its association with gender equality in paid and unpaid work, as well as child wellbeing and development.

To address this shortfall, we build on earlier analysis (Norman et al 2014; Norman and Elliot 2015; Fagan and Norman 2016; 2017) using the UK’s Millennium Cohort Survey (MCS) to explore what influences paternal involvement in childcare at different stages of the child’s life. Using multiple regression, we explore the multivariate relationship between paternal involvement and various employment, demographic and attitudinal variables when the child is aged nine months, three, five, seven and eleven years old. This will establish which variables are most important for shaping paternal involvement in childcare at particular stages of the child’s life, adding to policy and scholarly debates about what encourages or impedes fathers’ involvement at home over the longer term.

 

 

ESPAnet 2017 – 15th Annual ESPAnet Conference

14 – 15 September 2017 – Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon

Flexibility and fatherhood in Europe

Helen will also present some new findings from a related project using the European Working Conditions Survey:

Abstract: Men and women’s control over when and where they work – whether through formal flexitime arrangements or informal means – varies markedly across European countries as a result of institutional differences in working-time policies and workplace practices (Rubery et al. 1998; Fagan et al, 2012). This has been revealed by comparative European Surveys, including Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Survey and the European Company Survey. It is within this context that parents act to combine the time-demands of their jobs with that of raising children. It is well-known, that women are more likely to opt for part-time employment if they are raising children in some countries than others and to make other adjustments to their work schedules (Fagan et al. 2014). By contrast, much less is known about fathers’ working-time arrangements other than (i) average full-time working hours are much longer in some countries than others and (ii) men are much less likely than women to reduce their work hours when they have children (Fagan and Norman 2016; 2012; Norman et al. 2014). In this paper we build from Sullivan et al.’s (2000) analysis of ‘fatherhood strategies’ based on their comparative analysis of men’s time-use data. We use the Sixth European Working Conditions Survey to analyse fathers’ work schedules, with a particular focus on their control over when and where they work (flexible working) and the volume of hours worked and their self-report of work-life balance. We will assess whether the work schedules of fathers with young children vary markedly from other men, and seek to identify the national and occupational differences in men’s time availability to be engaged in looking after their young children. The analysis will be informed by reference to key policies which, in principle, enable fathers to reduce or adapt their working hours (parental leave, right to request reduced/flexible working hours), as well as more general national working-time polices which regulate the length of working time and foster worker-oriented flexible working

 

European Sociological Association – 13th Conference 2017

29 August – 1 September 2017 – Athens, Greece

Developing a measure of paternal involvement in childcare

Abstract: How to measure ‘paternal involvement in childcare’ is a contentious issue. Not only is ‘involvement’ a subjective concept, deriving a conceptually invariant measure is difficult given the childcare activities that constitute it change as a child grows older (e.g. see Norman and Elliot 2015, Dermott 2008; Lamb 1986). Yet deriving a measure is pivotal for understanding what influences paternal involvement in childcare – a key concern for policy, organisational and academic debates on gender equality, fathers and their children (e.g. see Norman et al. 2014; Fagan and Norman 2016; Norman and Fagan 2017; Eurofound 2015).

In this paper, we address this shortfall by deriving five measures (or factors) of paternal involvement in childcare that span a ten year period post-birth using confirmatory factor analysis on a sample of the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). The measures (or factors) of paternal involvement that are produced from this data reduction technique capture multiple MCS variables that pertain to the father-child relationship.

To further develop and validate these statistical measures, we conducted thirty qualitative ‘experiments’ with fathers, which involved a practical ‘card-sorting’ activity and a cognitive interview. This helped us to assess whether the measures we produced from our statistical analysis were clear and conceptually invariant across time. Results from this qualitative work with fathers suggested that our measures were fairly robust although it also brought to light some of the challenges and limitations of using quantitative data to measure fatherhood and parenting practices.

However, the triangulation of methods employed improved the validity and reliability of our ‘involvement’ measures/factors, which confirmed that the selected MCS variables could be appropriately organised into particular and discrete dimensions of paternal involvement for use in subsequent analysis.

 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission – (internal seminar)

29 June 2017 – Equality and Human Rights Commission, Arndale House, Arndale Centre, Manchester

What makes fathers involved in their children’s care?

Helen will be sharing the early findings from the project exploring what makes fathers involved in their children’s care to the EHRC, focusing on how employment characteristics (e.g. hours, schedules) can enable or hinder a father’s involvement in childcare, and whether the way that parents’ organise their work and childcare arrangements in the first year of the child’s life influence paternal involvement as the child grows older. She also reflects on how effective work-family policies in the UK – such as Shared Parental Leave, flexible working and childcare services – have been in helping fathers (and mothers) to strike a satisfactory balance between work and care.

 

Fathers Network Scotland – How Employers Can #DadUp

How do workplaces and work-family policy influence dads’ involvement at home?

21 June 2017 – Lloyds Banking Group Head Office, The Mound, Edinburgh, EH1 1YZ

Helen will be sharing early findings from the project, reflecting on how employment characteristics (e.g. hours, schedules) enable or hinder a father’s involvement in childcare, and whether the way that parents organise their work and childcare arrangements in the first year of the child’s life influence paternal involvement as the child grows older. In her talk, Helen will also discuss how effective work-family policies in the UK – such as Shared Parental Leave, flexible working and childcare services – have been in helping fathers (and mothers) to strike a satisfactory balance between work and care.

 

The 7th International Community, Work and Family conference

25 – 27 May 2017 – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano, Milan, Italy

How does paternal involvement in childcare and housework affect relationship stability?

Helen and Colette have been invited to present this paper in the session: ‘Father’s contribution to family wellbeing: how to turn obstacles into opportunities’ chaired by Isabella Crespi and Elisabetta Ruspini (University of Milano-Bicocca).

Abstract: Relationship breakdown for married or cohabiting couples is fairly common. The Office for National Statistics (2015) estimate that 42% of all marriages now end in divorce. When couples have children, divorce or separation can lead to inequitable family settings, which has a detrimental impact on child and family wellbeing (e.g. see Jones 2010; Mooney et al. 2009). For example, research shows that relationship conflict has a negative effect on parenting, particularly on the relationship between the father and child, which tends to be more vulnerable to the effects of parental breakdown compared to the mother-child relationship (Cummings et al 2004; Haux et al. 2015). This means that when relationship conflict is high, and relationships breakdown, it becomes more difficult for fathers to be involved with their children (e.g. see McBride and Mills 1993; Bouchard and Lee 2000; Pleck and Masciadrelli 2004; Allen and Daly 2007). In light of the negative association that has been established between relationship conflict and paternal involvement, our analysis explores whether this association could be explained by modelling the relationship, longitudinally, and in the other direction. That is, we ask: if fathers are involved in their child’s care during the early months, are they more likely to remain in a stable relationship with their partner over the longer term? Longitudinal analysis is conducted on the first four sweeps of the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study (2000-2012) to explore the effect of paternal involvement in childcare and housework during the first year of the child’s life on the stability of the parents’ relationship over time. We use logistic regression to predict relationship breakdown by the time the child is aged eight years old, controlling for other salient variables including household income, education, occupational class, employment status, age and marital status.

 

TRIAD Researcher workshop: Transition to parenthood – conceptual and methodological issues

24 – 27 April 2017 – The University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Exploring ways of measuring paternal involvement through qualitative experiments with fathers

Helen presented new findings from the project in an open seminar at the University of Jyväskylä, organised by Finnish colleagues as part of the TRIAD researcher workshop

Abstract: How to measure ‘paternal involvement in childcare’ is a contentious issue. Not only is ‘involvement’ a subjective concept, deriving a conceptually invariant measure is difficult given the childcare activities that constitute it change as a child grows older (e.g. see Norman and Elliot 2015). Yet deriving a measure is pivotal for understanding what influences paternal involvement in childcare – a key concern for policy, organisational and academic debates on gender equality, fathers and their children (e.g. see Norman et al. 2014; Norman and Fagan 2017; Eurofound 2015).

Our analysis addresses this shortfall by deriving quantitative measures of paternal involvement in childcare that span a ten year period post-birth using confirmatory factor analysis on data from the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study (MCS). To further develop and validate these statistical measures, we conducted thirty qualitative ‘experiments’ with fathers, which involved a practical ‘card-sorting’ activity and a cognitive interview. This helped us to assess whether the quantitative measures we produced from our statistical analysis were clear and conceptually invariant across time.

This triangulation of quantitative and qualitative methods improves the validity and reliability of our ‘involvement’ measures, helping to confirm that the selected MCS variables could be appropriately organised into particular and discrete dimensions of paternal involvement for use in subsequent analysis.

 

 British Sociological Association Annual Conference


4 – 6 April 2017 – The University of Manchester, UK

Does paternal involvement in childcare prevent relationship breakdown in married and cohabiting heterosexual couples?

Helen will share new findings from the project in a poster presentation. The full paper will be presented at the International Community, Work and Family conference in Milan in May 2017 (see below).

Abstract: Relationship breakdown for married or cohabiting couples is fairly common. The Office for National Statistics (2015) estimate that 42% of all marriages end in divorce. When couples have children, divorce or separation can lead to inequitable family settings (e.g. see Jones 2010). For example, research shows that relationship conflict has a negative effect on parenting, particularly on the relationship between the father and child, which tends to be more vulnerable to the effects of parental breakdown compared to the mother-child relationship (e.g. see Cummings et al 2004).

In this paper we explore whether paternal involvement in childcare contributes to the parents’ relationship stability. To investigate this hypothesis, we conduct longitudinal analysis using the first four sweeps of the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study. We explore the effect of paternal involvement in childcare during the first year of the child’s life on the stability of the parents’ relationship over time. Logistic regression is used to predict relationship breakdown when the child is aged 3, 5 and 8 years old to explore the influence of paternal involvement in childcare on the probability that the couple’s relationship stays intact, controlling for other salient variables including household income, education, employment and marital status.

Working Families Policy Seminar: ‘The Future of Work for Modern Families’

18 January 2017 – Portcullis House, London. SW1A 2LW

Helen took part in a panel discussion about how families are managing work and care alongside Jonathan Swan (Working Families), David Finch (Resolution Foundation) and Jonathan Reynolds MP (chair). Helen shared some of the early findings from the project on what makes fathers involved in childcare during the early years of parenthood.

Speakers included Margot James, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, and Flick Drummond MP, Co-Chair All Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Work, and Kate Bell, Head of Economic and Social Affairs at the Trades Union Congress.

Working Families Manchester Breakfast Briefing ‘Fathers and Care: are the odds stacked against them?’

6 December 2016 – RBS, 1 Spinningfields Square, Manchester, M3 3AP

Helen and Colette shared some of the early findings from the project on what makes fathers involved in childcare during the early years of parenthood. They also discussed how effective Shared Parental Leave, introduced in April 2015, has been to date in helping fathers to strike a satisfactory balance between work and care.

Working Families Researcher Network Conference

23-25 June 2016 – Capitol Hilton, Washington, D.C

Colette and Helen presented their work on what influences fathers to get involved when the child is aged three with a focus on paid work, attitudes and childcare.

This was based on an earlier book chapter:

Fagan, C., Norman, H. (2016): ‘What makes fathers involved? An exploration of the longitudinal influence of fathers’ and mothers’ employment on father’s involvement in looking after their pre-school children in the UK’ in Crespi, I., Ruspini, E. (ed): Balancing work and family in a changing society: the father’s perspective, Palgrave MacMillan: Basingstoke