Year of the Dad Official launch
Families in Scotland celebrate power of ‘the dad effect’.
- Father-of-three Peter Airlie who became a dad aged 14 talks openly about positive benefits of ‘the dad effect’
Families from across Scotland joined by The Minister for Children and Young People, Aileen Campbell MSP, gathered at Edinburgh Zoo today to officially launch ‘Year of the Dad’ – a celebration of the difference a great father figure can make to children’s wellbeing, confidence, and educational attainment.
Organised by Fathers Network Scotland and supported by The Scottish Government and partner organisations, ‘Year of the Dad’ aims to support families and organisations to help dads to have a positive involvement at home.
‘Year of the Dad’ is a nationwide campaign reaching out to individuals and communities across Scotland, of all ages and from all backgrounds. Activities will include a conference in February with international partners including speakers from Iceland who consistently top the gender equality index. Collaborators, many of whom are charities and public sector organisations providing services for families, will be holding their own events across the country to create a ground swell to accelerate positive cultural change.
Sam Pringle, acting ceo of Father’s Network Scotland commented: “Research overwhelmingly shows that children, families and society as a whole benefit from the positive involvement of fathers – the “dad effect” – and ‘Year of the Dad’ has been created to raise awareness of this contribution a father figure can make.
We are asking people and organisations to sign up to the campaign to create a united voice for father figures – sharing their knowledge and experiences for the benefit of Scottish society as a whole. Whether it’s negotiating flexible working or finding out about dad friendly groups local to them, we can resource families with relevant information from our network. “
One dad attending the launch with his family was Peter Airlie. Now a twenty-five year old father of three, Peter from Edinburgh was 14 when his girlfriend fell pregnant. He was shocked but determined not to be a “deadbeat dad”. A decade later, speaking at the ‘Year of the Dad’ launch, Peter believes fatherhood turned out to be the making of him:
“I vividly remember standing in my front room, crying while telling my Mum what had happened. I knew it was going to be a tough road ahead, with sacrifices, but I always knew I wanted to be there for my kids. It’s the small things that matter, whether it’s helping the kids to cook a meal or kicking a ball around the park with them. Whenever people compliment my family I know it’s all been worth it. At the end of the day, it’s a team effort – myself and my wife now have three children. Things can be manic but I feel exactly the same as I did when I stood in my Mum’s living room ten years ago. I wanted to be part of them growing up and the rewards are there every day as they learn and develop. I know first-hand that dads come in all shapes, sizes (and ages) but ‘Year of the Dad’ is a great way of remembering what really matters.”
Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell said:
“I’m delighted to support and help launch the ‘Year of the Dad’. I’m pleased to see ‘Year of the Dad’ recognises families come in all shapes and sizes and is about celebrating all important father figures, whether they’re step-dads, adoptive dads, granddads or a whole range of other male role models. The year will continue to promote this government’s equality agenda and will have widespread benefits for families across Scotland. I hope the events will be embraced by dads, families, services and employers across the country.”
Sam Pringle, concluded: “We believe we’re at a tipping point. Over the past 50 years we have seen striking cultural changes from a time when many dads weren’t even at their children’s births, to the present-day reality when 98% are at the birth and many father figures are fully involved in a nurturing and caring role. The old stereotype of male breadwinner and disciplinarian no longer serves us in an age of increasing diversity and gender equality. But the launch today is more than just about fathers. It’s about recognising and celebrating the role everyone plays within the family and wider community. We’d encourage mums, dads, employers and services to all to get involved and benefit from the ‘dad effect’.
For further information, please contact:
Fergus Reid/Lynne Hughes/Nicola McArthur
T: 0141 222 2040; M: 07971 583 535
Where can we get more information?
We have a wealth of information available at www.yearofthedad.org including a directory of dad-friendly groups and organisations across Scotland, fact sheets and inspiring stories of other dads who have done things differently.
But this is not just for dads, who need society-wide support to fulfil their crucial role. We’d encourage mums, dads, employers and services to all to get involved.
Employers have a big role to play here, what are you doing to engage them?
Many of the most proactive employers are already embracing this change and supporting their dads with enhanced paternity leave and pay, dads’ representatives at executive level, and paid attendance at ante-natal appointments, for examples check out the Scottish Top Employers for Working Families Awards for some great examples.
We know employers are key to this shift, and we’ve been doing extensive market research to find out what could support them in taking steps to create a more diverse and inclusive culture. So we are working with organisations to create dads’ networks, workshops for new fathers and to share how they use policies and benefits to create more family- friendly culture and a better work life balance for employees.
We are asking employers to sign up to Year of the Dad and share what they are doing.
Sunday 24 January 2016 offical Scottish Government press release.