A report produced by Sonke Gender Justice and South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council. Download here.
“We need to unpack the term of ‘absent father’ a bit more, because what StatsSA looks at is who is in the home and who is not in the home. We know a number of factors impact on how fathers behave,” said Suleiman Henry, a child rights and positive parenting regional trainer for Sonke, while briefing the parliamentary multi-party women’s caucus about the State of South Africa’s Fathers report.
The report, co-released with the Human Sciences Research Council, looks at several issues related to fatherhood, how men are socialised as providers and not carers, the conflation of absence and non-involvement, along with the overemphasis placed on children’s co-residence with a biological father.
According to Sonke, the report highlights the importance of policy support for fathers’ involvement in young children’s lives, especially during the first 1,000 days. This involvement can establish an emotional bond between father and child for life, significantly relieves the burden of care on mothers, and allows mothers to spend more time on income-earning or leisure.
The report found co-residence is very much dependent on race and income level. If you are white your chances of living with both parents are nearly double that of if you are black.
Children are also 30% more likely to belong to the poorest income bracket if they are in single-mother-led households rather than living with both parents, according to the report, quoting figures from StatsSA.
Source: Daily Maverick