The Global Campaign for Men and Boys
A leading expert on gender has been accused of “sexism against men” after claiming that the majority of men who take paternity leave are using it as an opportunity to play golf.
Dr Roberta Guerrina, Head of the School of Politics at the University of Surrey, also told listeners to BBC Radio Surrey & Sussex that “the vast majority” of men don’t take paternity leave, even though evidence suggests than 91% of dads in the UK take time of work when their child is born.
According to research referenced in our book Equality For Men, dads in the UK on average provide two-thirds of the family income and one-third of childcare, despite the fact that men do not currently have equal parental rights, equal access to parental leave, or equal access to the state benefits that support parents.
In a debate with Glen Poole, author of the book Equality For Men, Dr Guerrina, an expert in gender and feminist theories, twice claimed that the vast majority of dads do not take time off work to look after their children.
When faced with the question of whether men have equal parenting rights she said: “Men have the opportunity to take up paternity leave however the vast majority of them do not, they choose not to take it on,” a claim she went on to repeat later in the programme saying: “men have to be prepared to take time off work to look after their children, the vast majority of men, so far, since the introduction of paternity leave, have not done that.”
The assertion that the vast majority of men don’t take time off work to look after their children when official Government figures from the Department of Work and Pensions show that 91% of fathers took time off around the time of their baby’s birth and 81% of all fathers are now using Statutory Paternity Leave.
Glen Poole, responded to Dr Guerrina’s claims with a personal story of being a dad saying:
“We don’t have equal rights Roberta as dads. Can I tell you something? I was an at-home, full-time househusband. I went for a job at the Equal Opportunities Commission. I asked them, “if I have a second child, will you give me the same paternity rights as you’d give a woman?”— and they said they wouldn’t.
“There’s been a huge movement to improve women’s rights and women’s equality, but a huge resistance to improving men’s rights and men’s equality. Men in 2013, a hundred years nearly after women got the equal right to vote, still don’t have an equal right to be a parent. We need to stop blaming men for the fact that dads don’t share care, dads do not have an equal right to care in the UK in 2013. We need to accept that legal right, it’s a men’s right, we’re very uncomfortable with men’s rights, but it’s a men’s rights’ issue, we don’t have an equal right to be a dad.”
The academic responded with a claim that there was “lots of data” to show that the “vast majority” of men who take paternity leave see it as “an opportunity to have time off and play golf”. She said:
“Ok Glen, the problem is—and there is plenty of data coming through on this— when men actually take time off on parental leave and paternity leave they actually don’t spend time caring. The vast majority of them actually see it as an opportunity to have time off to go and play golf.”
One local father called Nick rang the programme and said: “it just astounds me the answer she gave to Glen and I’d like to commend Glen for coming on the radio and putting her straight.”
Presenter Danny Pike reminded listeners: “The accusation was that somebody in your position who has the primary care role for the children, actually when they get that time away from work to do that, actually he goes off and plays golf instead. So what’s your handicap down to?”
Nick replied: “Well I don’t play golf, that’s the first thing and I took two weeks full paternity leave. I’d have loved to have taken more time off to spend that first important time, that bonding time………unfortunately because of the law in this country……as a man you don’t have many rights at all.”
Speaking after the programme Glen Poole of equality4men said:
“I am astounded that such sexist, prejudiced and subjective opinions exist amongst senior academics and are allowed to pass as expert opinion. Saying that the vast majority of fathers don’t take paternity leave when 91% of British dads take time off when their child is born is not just inaccurate, it is an insult to caring fathers all over the country.
“The claim that the vast majority of men who take paternity leave see it as an opportunity to play golf is just plain, unadulterated sexism against men and has no place in modern Britain—the fact that this type of sexist view is held by a senior lecturer who is teaching young men and women about gender and politics is shocking.”
The Fatherhood Institute tweeted to say that Dr Guerrina’s view is “ridiculous and wrong” and that a “similar myth has been peddled re Scandinavian dads using it to go hunting. Also not evidenced”.
Photo credit: Flickr/kkinjo
Would you like a copy of the book, Equality For Men, by Glen Poole? If you’re in the UK you can buy the book for £12.50 (including postage and packaging) via the button below:
And if if you’re outside the UK and you want to buy the book the cost is £15 (including postage and packaging) via the button below:
Of course if you prefer to get the book right now you can still purchase the eBook to download right now for just £10 from the button below: