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Liberal writer and policy maker Richard Reeves is delivering a lecture today hosted by charity 4Children, in which he calls upon men to play a greater role in their child’s upbringing.
The former advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister believes that the UK is only halfway through a social revolution that began in the 1970s and that men need to take on a greater childcare role in order to correct a major imbalance.
As part of the ‘Symmetrical Family’ lecture, Mr Reeves explains: “At every level of society, greater gender equality will underpin better family life. If, and it is a big if, men are up to it. We are half-way through a revolution in the interaction between gender roles and family life. We have to keep going, and see similar changes in men’s lives to the ones we have seen for women. By 2043, if we are successful, the terms ‘career man’, ‘working father’ or ‘stay-at-home Dad’ will have lost their novelty.
“The quality of family life is a collective concern. Poorly-raised children are a problem for our collective future. Talent and money are poured down the drain. When a family fails, we all suffer, even if only indirectly”
He goes on to highlight the problem many women face in managing two roles – caring for family alongside paid work – while arguing that men are more likely to have only one role or none at all.
Further issues raised in the lecture include the stress lower and middle income families face in paying the bills, which stops them from focusing on each other; the increasing number of single mothers struggling to raise their children; greater strains on work-life balance; wage stagnation; and the lack of affordable and flexible childcare.
4Children are hosting the lecture as part of a series of events organised to mark its thirtieth anniversary of supporting family life, with the aim of gathering key policy reports to inform the next 30 years.
Chief executive Anne Longfield OBE comments: ““Since 1983 family life has changed dramatically and with it the needs of children and families. These lectures, delivered by some of the most inspirational policy makers and academics of our time, provide a valuable insight into the direction of travel we must take in order to truly revolutionise family life and build stronger futures for the next generation.”