Journal article

Fathers who care and those that don’t: Men and childcare in South Africa

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Morrell R., Dunkle K., Ibragimov U., Jewkes R.

Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge): SSH Titles - no Open Select / Taylor & Francis

Publication year: 2016

Journal: South African Review of Sociology (Society in Transition)

Journal name: South African Review of Sociology

Volume number: 47

Issue number: 4

Start page: 80

End page: 105

Total number of pages: 26

ISSN: 2152-8586

eISSN: 2072-1978



Fathers have an important role to play in childcare and when they are not involved, the children, mothers and fathers themselves are the poorer for it. Yet in many contexts we do not actually know either the extent or nature of father involvement. This article reports on a study that drew on data from a randomised survey of 18–49-year-old men in South Africa to explore levels of childcare participation and to analyse which particular activities men are involved in. The study showed that more than half of fathers take their parental responsibilities seriously. Over 80%, for example, help their children with school homework. A smaller majority (54%) of fathers talk to their children about personal matters and wash their clothes. Despite resource scarcity due to poverty, many seek to be present in their children’s lives. But this is not true for all men. Men who have good communication with their wives; who perceive their own fathers as kind; and who are generally more egalitarian in their gender attitudes are more likely to be caring fathers. Conversely, fathers who are violent towards women; who abuse alcohol; and who do not have gender equitable views are least likely to care for their children.


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Last updated on 2017-26-04 at 13:49