Ian Dinwiddy

‘Gender Diversity -

Why Men’s Work Life Balance Matters to Everyone’

Links and further reading >

Slide 5 - Perception v Reality

“At the same time, admitting vulnerability and asking for help seems to go against traditional ‘manly’ virtues like stoicism and staying in control. The result is that many men suffer alone – and suffer more than they have to.”

Source: Daddilife.com 

Slide 6 - Challenges of Fatherhood

Pulled in 2 directions - Breadwinner and Carer

“Hi fellas. I joined this group recently because it’s really important to me to be massively engaged in my children’s lives for as long as their childhoods last. At the same time, I want to make progress in my career.

That balance can be hard, especially when so many people perceive caring fathers as uncommitted to their jobs.”

Source: Inspiring Dads Facebook Group

Being the rock

Nearly 80% of dads feel a responsibility to be “the rock” for their families after the birth of a child, and half say this is a struggle, causing them stress and anxiety.

Source: "Healthy Dads? The challenge of being a new father"


Three in four dads feel stress trying to juggle work and family life.

Nearly two-fifths say they feel ‘great stress’ getting work/life balance right.

When Talking Talent released their own study on working dads in 2017, it showed that as much as 72% of working dads were close to suffering burn out, constantly trying to do more at home as well as work

Source: Daddlilife.com

Post Natal Depression

Journal of the American Medical Association found that 26% of men around the world showed signs of depression between three and six months after the birth of a baby.

 Source: Daddlilife.com


44% of Fathers experienced discrimination in the workplace after exercising their right to take time off to look after their child.

A staggering 1 in 4 fathers suffered verbal abuse or mockery after taking time off to look after their child.

The survey further found that over a third (35 per cent) of new dads suffered a negative impact on their career after exercising their right to parental leave. Of these, 17 per cent suffered job loss, while nearly 20 per cent received a demotion.

Source: HR Review 

Hiding the truth?

44 per cent of fathers responding to the Modern Families Index in 2017 said they had lied or bent the truth to their employer about family-related responsibilities that might be seen as interfering with work.

Source: CityParents.co.uk

Fathers told us that visibility of their parental role among managers and colleagues was low in comparison to motherhood, and they felt under pressure to conform to the ideal of the devoted worker, unencumbered by family responsibilities.

Dads revealed in interviews that they often leave their jackets on the office chair to rush to the afternoon nursery pick-up unnoticed, while others slot fake meetings into work diaries in an attempt to carve out time for family.

Source: CityAM

Slide 7 - What Do Dads Want?

Being a present father

GQ magazine found that the number 1 aspect of modern masculinity, identified by 66% of Men was “being a present father”.

 Source: GQ Magazine

Good work life balance opportunities 

While 11% of men have refused a new job and 10% have said no to a promotion because of a lack of good work life balanced opportunities.

Source: Working Families 2018

Flexible working opportunities.

At the launch of the workingdads.co.uk website they surveyed 600 Dads. 73% of these dads are considering searching for a flexible job and 16% are actively looking for one. But 69% thought employers do not realise modern families have changed and 72% feared their employer’s reaction if they asked for flexible working.

Source: Workingdads.co.uk

Seeing their children.

I run a private Facebook group - one of questions that people have to answer when they join is

“What are the 3 biggest outcomes you want as a Dad (or supporting a Dad). Here is a sample from the last 2 weeks:

👉 "To spend more time with him and to be a bigger part of his life."

👉 "Spend more time with my daughter and be a happier person."

👉 "To have more time with the kids."

👉 "Attend more special occasions. Be a more active figure on a daily basis in their lives."

Slide 8 - Why Does Any of This Matter to Women?

Normalising a flexible culture that recognises commitments outside of work is key.

When we deny the existence of life outside, we exclude people who have responsibilities as carers and parents. Or the people who don't want to be tied to traditional hours. Normalising a culture of dads being active parents a key part building a gender diverse workplace and close the gender pay gap

Two Candidates.

New job or promotion. Who's going to ask for flex or parental leave? The man doesn't feel he can. Everyone assumes the woman will.

Tale of two candidates 2.png

Men gain empathy & awareness of bias.

 Fahad Sayood, Head of Financial Risk at Aviva took 6 months off at full pay.

“Would my job be safe? What would it mean for my career? How would it impact my team?” Then, he adds: “It hit me like a freight train. These are worries that women in the workplace have been facing for generations“

Source: Financial Times

Slide 9 - Options to Support Men

Flexible working as a right not a privilege

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report found that nearly nine in 10 (84 per cent) UK businesses believe it helps employees achieve better work / life satisfaction.

Source: theglobalrecruiter.com

2019 – the unmet demand for flexible working

The study (The Modern Families Index 2019) surveyed 2570 working parents across the UK, with at least one dependent child aged 13 or younger who lives with them some of all of the time.

One of the main insights from the study was that 86% of parents want to work flexibly, but only 49% actually do.

Source: Daddilife.com

Flexible working benefits

Flexible or Agile Working It is “an enabler of workplace gender equality” according to the report leading to more motivated staff and improved retention of talent, but men are less likely to take flexible working while they can see it could hold them back in the workplace.

Research Gender and Behavioural Insights (GABI) project, backed by the Government Equalities Office.

Source: Workingdads.co.uk

Flexible Working - What PWC learnt

Everyone deserves the same degree of flexibility. Flexibility is not related to a generational need. Every employee, at any age, benefits from and is looking for its availability. A culture of flexibility will not be created, adopted, or embraced unless the origination stems from an understanding and belief that every single person in the organization deserves the same consideration and flex work policies. This isn’t about one segment of the workforce,

 Source: Harvard Business Review

Further Reading

Morgan McKinley

CIPD 2016, Employee Outlook: commuting and flexible working.

Part Time Working

Accenture case study of male part time working

Male leadership role models.

"When Jenn started kindergarten in the fall of 2001, we found a school that was ideal for her, but it was thirty or forty minutes away and across a bridge, and I knew I would be driving back and forth from home to school twice a day. When I complained to Bill about all the time I would be spending in the car, he said, “I can do some of that.” And I said, “Seriously? You’ll do that?” “Sure,” he said. “It’ll give me time to talk with Jenn.”

So Bill started driving. He’d leave our house, drop Jenn at school, turn around, drive back past our neighborhood and on to Microsoft. Twice a week he did that. About three weeks in, on my days, I started noticing a lot of dads dropping kids off in the classroom. So I went up to one of the moms and said, “Hey, what’s up? There are a lot of dads here.”

She said, “When we saw Bill driving, we went home and said to our husbands, ‘Bill Gates is driving his child to school; you can, too.’

Source: Melinda Gates on LinkedIn

Research by Avenir Consulting

Slide 10 - Why Does This Matter Now?

There is a movement in society, among employers and government bodies that recognises the benefit of supporting working dads as part of a building a gender diverse workplace.

Gender Pay Gap.

Forbes linking Shared Parental Leave to the Gender Pay Gap.

The Guardian linking 4 day working to the Gender Pay Gap.

Timewise linking flexible working to the Gender Pay Gap.

Shared Parental Leave Policies.

Click to learn about Shared Parental Leave in the UK 

“Volvo is the latest corporation to unveil an enhanced package of parental benefits for men and women. The Swedish car maker is to roll out to all employees in Europe policies similar to those that apply to workers in Sweden by law Fathers as well as mothers will be entitled to six months off paid at 80% of their normal pay.”

Lloyds Bank now offer new parents additional paternity leave. (6 weeks for dads and 20 weeks for mums - full pay)


UK Government consult on a bill to publish parental leave packages.

In October 2018 the government announced that it planned to consult on a bill that would require large employers to publish their parental leave package.

 Source: Personneltoday.com


‘no reason’ flex from day 1.

“Employers should publish new mum retention rates.”

The UK Parliament Women and Equalities Committee

It says larger employers should be required to report on retention rates for new mothers 12 months after they return from maternity leave and 12 months after they apply for flexible working – a recommendation the committee originally made in 2016.

 Slide 11 - A Message for the Guys

Mental load & equality at home.

The New York Times - "What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With"

 Division of labor in the home is one of the most important equity issues of our time. Yet at this rate it will be another 75 years before men do half the work.

All this comes at a cost to women’s well-being, as mothers forgo leisure time, professional ambitions and sleep. Wives who view their household responsibilities “as unjust are more likely to suffer from depression than those who do not,”

 Business in the Community’s Gender Equality Campaign - ‘Equal Lives’ 

Consequently, while the survey reveals that men and women have very similar desires in relation to balancing work and caring responsibilities, women are eight times more likely to play the primary role in caring for children. 

Source: Helena Morrissey, It’s Time to Listen to Men

Mental Load - what does you partner say behind your back?