Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health

EDITORIAL COMMENTARY
Year
: 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 503--504

Involving fathers in achieving gender equality through a television reality show


Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava, Jegadeesh Ramasamy 
 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Involving fathers in achieving gender equality through a television reality show.Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:503-504


How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Involving fathers in achieving gender equality through a television reality show. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 9 ];10:503-504
Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/3/503/213159


Full Text

Dear Editor,

Gender inequality has persisted in the society for centuries together and has not only affected the progression of girls and women, but even responsible for a significant negative impact on the physical, mental, and social attributes of health of millions of women across the globe.[1]

In fact, realizing its impact on the quality of life of women, promotion of gender equality has been incorporated both in the Millennium Development Goals and the Sustainable Development Goals.[1] As most of the cultures prevalent in different regions of the world are highly patriarchal, both inside and outside the home, there is a great need to alter the psychological thinking of men.[2]

Ideally, any intervention to accomplish gender equality should begin at family level.[1] Thus, an important area to ensure gender equality is by targeting fathers and involving them in different phases of the growth and development of the child.[3] It is very important to support the transition of a male to a father and involve them actively in the parenthood.[2] In addition, it has been shown that the participation of father in care giving or play behavior increased enormously, once they realized their responsibility of being a father.[2],[3] Even though, the findings of studies have shown that that involvement of the father has a significant impact in reducing the risk of infant mortality, by indirectly ascertaining mother's well-being and extending support to her, most of the efforts have failed to involve fathers.[2],[3]

Moreover, it has been proven that involvement of the father plays a crucial role in enhancing survival chances of pre-term infants through supporting the mother and other family members in exercising Kangaroo Mother Care or in the success of breastfeeding.[4] Further, father involvement has even resulted in a positive impact on a child's development and well-being, and in shaping eating and physical activity patterns of their children.[5] As a matter of fact, practicing of healthy behavior by father has been associated with lesser risk of obesity among children, and vice versa, as they tend to emulate similar behaviors.[4],[5]

Acknowledging the importance of the role of father in ensuring gender equality at family level and to spread awareness about the same among the general population, the United Nation Population Fund has started a television reality show in Georgia under the name Fathers.[1] The program came into existence after studies revealed that more than four-fifths of the fathers have no role in reading stories or cooking or even engaging in the education of their children.[1]

Further, another study revealed that almost 96% of the male and female agreed to the fact that men have the last say in the family and women should live with verbal abuse to maintain family's integrity.[1] This reality show features a well-known man of the nation in each of the episodes and the show explores his daily routine with his children, in the absence of his wife's help.[1]

The show aims to tackle the long-established gender roles in a family and modify the fatherhood concept among the residents of the nation.[1] At the same time, it spreads the message that men should not take their families for granted, have a vital role in child upbringing and development, and their responsibility is not limited to provision of financial assistance.[1],[2],[3] Even, women have expressed their feeling of fulfillment and a step toward their empowerment, realizing that their counterparts can equally take care of children, and relieve them of their responsibilities by redistributing family responsibilities.[1],[4]

To conclude, gender inequality is a major public health concern on the global scale, and starting an initiative at the family level to create awareness about the importance of fathers in the upbringing of children is quite an effective step and will be having long-term positive effects.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1UNFPA Prime time dads: Improving gender equality in Georgia through reality TV; 2016. Available from: http://www.unfpa.org/news/prime-time-dads-improving-gender-equality-georgia-through-reality-tv. [Last accessed on 2016 Jul 11].
2Roubinov DS, Luecken LJ, Gonzales NA, Crnic KA. Father involvement in Mexican-origin families: preliminary development of a culturally informed measure. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 2016;22:277-87.
3Planalp EM, Braungart-Rieker JM. Determinants of father involvement with young children: Evidence from the early childhood longitudinal study-birth cohort. J Fam Psychol 2016;30:135-46.
4Hunter T, Cattelona G. Breastfeeding initiation and duration in first-time mothers: exploring the impact of father involvement in the early post-partum period. Health Promot Perspect 2014;4:132-6.
5Guerrero AD, Chu L, Franke T, Kuo AA. Father involvement in feeding interactions with their young children. Am J Health Behav 2016;40:221-30.