SEOUL, May 23 (Korea Bizwire) – Fathers are far less committed than mothers to everyday parenting, such as taking part in a child’s school events, a local study showed Monday, raising calls for the adoption of a more parents-friendly work system in the country.
According to the latest research by the Korea Institute of Child Care and Education, only 17 percent of fathers interviewed went to the ceremony of their kids’ first day at elementary school, compared with 92.8 percent of mothers.
The survey was based on interviews conducted on 1,469 fathers and 1,556 mothers with children who turned 7 years old in 2016.
Fathers posted a poor participation level in other school-related events, such as field days, parent-teacher meetings and open classroom sessions, with the results coming to about 16 percent, 8.8 percent and 5 percent for each occasion, respectively. Mothers, in contrast, showed an attendance rate of around 70 to nearly 80 percent.
While only 1.5 percent of mothers said they never attended any school events for their child, the corresponding figure for fathers stood at 79.1 percent, mirroring an extremely low father commitment to parenting.
The institute called on the government, as well as the private sector, for more policy efforts to further encourage the implementation of a flexible hours program at the workplace, since kids entering a school means a big change for parents as well.
The government has introduced a number of child care support systems to benefit working parents, including child care leave that entitles both mothers and fathers, and a flexible hours program, but few fathers choose to take time off from work, citing an unsupportive work environment and even fear of being sidelined for promotions and losing their jobs afterward.
Nevertheless, many male workers with children agreed that such child care policies do help them participate more in parenting, with over 30 percent of the respondents picking the flexible work hours system as being “very helpful,” according to the study.