Stay at Home Dads Around the World
Stay-at-home dads make up a very small portion of the Australian population. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that less than 1% of fathers are stay-at-home dads, even though women make up 45% of the workforce. Because of this, there are few role models or resources that can help Australian fathers with the stay-at-home dad role.
Over a 20-year period during the late 20th century, there was an increase in the number of women in the workforce in Canada. This shift increased father participation in family tasks that used to primarily be the responsibility of the mother. Beginning in the late 20th century, parental roles began to become less traditional, and the stay-at-home dad arrangement began to become more common. The number of stay-at-home dads increased by three percent points between 1976 and 1998, and the average age of a stay-at-home dad in Canada is forty-two. A bill was passed in by the Canadian government in October 1990 which granted paid leave for fathers for the purpose of primary caregiving.
Beginning in the 2000s, the stay-at-home dad began to emerge as a role in China, though some remain uncomfortable with the way the role changes traditional family dynamics. Customs in China suggest that men must be the heads of their households. Stereotyping is an issue for stay-at-home dads, who sometimes prefer not to tell others about their family arrangement. Traditional ideas promote criticism of “woman-like” men, and many feel that they would face humiliation and criticism for being stay-at-home dads. Others suppose they would be looked at as having a wife that is “too strong”.
Stay-at-home dads are not prevalent in East Asian countries, which generally have strict traditional gender roles. However, a survey conducted in 2008 in Japan suggested that nearly one third of married men would accept the role. The Japanese government passed a law in April 1992 allowing time off following the birth of a child for both male and female employees. In 1996, 0.16% of Japanese fathers took time off of work to raise children. In South Korea, about 5,000 men were stay-at-home dads in 2007. Even so, stay-at-home dads face discrimination from stay-at-home mothers, and are often ostracized.
The role of the stay-at-home dad is not traditional in India, but it is socially accepted in urban areas. According to one sociologist’s study in 2006, as much as three percent of all urban working fathers in India are stay-at-home dads, and twelve percent of unmarried Indian men would consider being a stay-at-home dad according to a survey conducted by Business Today. One sociologist Sushma Tulzhapurkar called this a shift in Indian society, saying that a decade ago, “it was an unheard concept and not to mention socially unacceptable for men to give up their jobs and remain at home.” However, only 22.7 percent of Indian women are part of the labor force, compared to 51.6 percent of men; thus, women are more likely to be caregivers because most do not work outside the home.
Some prominent clerics say that stay-at-home dads are un-Islamic. Cleric Noh Gadut argues that the practice “is against sharia which has allocated responsibilities to man and wife”. However, the practice began to become “trendy” among young couples in the 2000’s, especially among those educated in Western nations.
According to an article by the Daily Mail, the number of stay-at-home dads in 2007 had increased by 83 percent since 1993. According to the paper, in 2007, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed more than 200,000 fathers chose to stay home and be the primary caregiver for their children.
In 2008, an estimated 140,000 married fathers worked in the home as their children’s primary caregivers while their wives worked outside of the home to provide for the family. This number is less than the previous two years according to the US Census Bureau. In 2007, stay-at-home dads made up approximately 2.7% of the nation’s stay-at-home parents. This is triple the percentage from 1997, and has been consistently higher each year since 2005. In 2006, stay-at-home dads were caring for approximately 245,000 children; 63% of stay-at-home dads had two or more children. These statistics only account for married stay-at-home dads; there are other children being cared for by single fathers or gay couples. Also, it is difficult to ascertain how many of these stay-at-home dads have accepted the role voluntarily, and how many have been forced into it by the economic crisis of the late 2000s and early 2010s during which a great number of mostly-male blue-collar industries suffered significant losses and many previously employed men entered periods of prolonged unemployment.
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization.