31 August 2017: Dads say they want equality for girls this Father's Day

A Plan International Australia and Whole Kids survey of 500 Australian fathers reveals an overwhelming consensus among Aussie dads to teach kids about gender equality, healthy eating and for fathers to take an equal role in parenting. 

Almost all (99%) the dads surveyed say they have an important role to play teaching children how to eat healthily, with 87% enjoying cooking with their kids as a bonding activity. Dads are also in favour of equality: almost all (97%) agree dads must play an equal role in parenting and 97% say they care about teaching children to respect all genders equally. 

Three-quarters of fathers surveyed (77%) said they were fed up with the ‘dumb dad’ stereotype and agree that the advertising stereotype was damaging to fathers who work hard to raise healthy, happy kids.  

The online survey, released in the lead up to Father’s Day (Sunday 3 September), was delivered by IPSOS polling to 500 Australian dads in every major city in Australia. 

Dads listed playing with their children as the most important shared activity, followed by reading, sport, cooking, music and art. When it came to who cooks at home, the results were down to the wire, with 34% saying they do most of the cooking, 35% saying their partner cooks most and 31% agreeing it was equally shared. 

Plan International is a not-for-profit organisation that works with families in more than 70 countries worldwide to improve the lives of children. Plan International Australia CEO Ian Wishart says Plan International’s work with dads abroad shows a huge shift in the role of the modern day father. 

“Whether you’re a dad in Australia, Kenya, Guatemala or Timor-Leste, fathers everywhere are equally as capable of providing loving and nurturing care to their children as mothers are. Our work and research in many communities has shown that men want the best for their children and want to do their best for them as fathers. This is a far cry from the absent-father stereotype we so often see on TV.

“The tired trope of the lazy dad picking up greasy fast food for the kids to give mum a night off cooking is ridiculously outdated and offensive. We want dads to know they are respected for all they do and that they are an integral part of their children’s healthy eating, development and of creating a fair and equal world for girls, boys and everyone.

“It’s encouraging that so many dads in Australia support gender equality. Many of the dads Plan works with are active campaigners for girls’ rights, who campaign against child marriage and female genital mutilation and work hard to secure better education and equal opportunities for their daughters. We’re pleased to see those values reflected in dads here in Australia too.”

Whole Kids co-founder James Meldrum – who is a father of two – says the ‘hopeless dad’ stereotype is totally out of kilter with modern day parenting. 

“This Father’s Day it’s really important to celebrate dads that recognises their contribution to families, the idea of hopeless dads in no longer relevant. Dads come in all shapes and sizes and the role of dads is often undervalued, they’re a real critical part of a child’s development. The role of a father in modern life has changed a lot since the 1950s and we need to recognise that dads are far more involved and want to be even more involved in a child’s development.”

Aussie dads survey: key findings

• Dads have an important role to teach kids about healthy eating  - 99% agree
• Dads should play an equal role in parenting - 97% agree
• I care about teaching my kids to respect all genders equally - 97% agree
• Cooking is a great way to help me bond with my children - 87% agree
• My child regularly comes to me for emotional support - 83% agree
• Sexist stereotypes of men in advertising are damaging - 77% agree

Who cooks at home?

• I do most of the cooking – 34%
• My partner does most of the cooking – 35%
• We share the cooking equally – 31%

The most important activity I partake in with my kids is:

• Playing – 276
• Reading – 104
• Sport – 53
• Other – 28
• Cooking – 23
• Music – 10
• Art – 6

About the Plan International Australia and Whole Kids partnership 

Organic food company Whole Kids and child’s rights organisation Plan International have partnered to deliver nutritious breakfasts for children in Cambodia.  With the shared belief in creating a healthier and happier world for all children, Whole Kids and Plan International aim to deliver 500,000 nourishing meals of rice and protein, food rations to take home, and cash to ease the strain on families. A portion of every purchase from Whole Kids’ organic and allergy-friendly range goes towards funding Plan International’s Cambodia school feeding program.