Lancaster University

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Lottery funding for research on working fathers

10/29/2008 11:59:02

An estimated 8500 UK fathers will benefit directly from the research

Lancaster University Management School and Working Families have been awarded a ‘Big Lottery Fund’ grant to undertake a two-year study of the working lives of fathers in the UK.
Caroline Gatrell

The project – led by Dr Caroline Gatrell of Lancaster’s Department of Management Learning and Leadership – will investigate and document the barriers that prevent working fathers' greater engagement as parents, creating a body of evidence that will be used to influence public policy development and employer practice.

The research aims to increase awareness and understanding amongst working fathers, especially those on low incomes, of the options they have to manage their working lives differently. The findings will help to improve Working Families' existing services for fathers as well as those of other voluntary organisations. An estimated 8,500 UK fathers are expected to benefit directly from the study through gaining greater knowledge about their employment rights and also learning how to engage more with their children.

Dr Gatrell said: “Our project team is delighted to be working in partnership with Working Families on this important research project. An understanding of family practices, parenting and employment is fundamental to good management. These areas are central to my own research agenda, in which I examine the ‘Hard Labour’ involved in combining parenthood with paid work. So it's really exciting to have gained the Big Lottery Grant with Working Families, meaning that we will jointly take forward this exciting and much needed research project, investigating the barriers which limit working fathers' engagement as parents.”

Sarah Jackson, Chief Executive of Working Families said: “We give a voice to parents who are struggling to pay the bills while still spending time with their children, and we're thrilled to get this grant to continue our research. Men have just as much right as women to spend time with their children, and lots of fathers would like more time at home. But we have found that fathers are less likely than mothers to request flexible hours and more likely to have their requests turned down.

“There is evidence that a father's presence makes home a happy, stable place for children to grow up. Particularly in the case of boys, having a strong role model can lead to them doing better at school and having more direction.”