South Africans increasingly see fatherhood as an achievement something to aspire to

As the world reshapes the narrative around traditional gender norms and roles, we set out to discover how this shift is affecting traditional notions of parenthood. In order to do this, we conducted an in-depth study of 8 290 men across 22 countries. The study was conducted online around the world, including South Africa, and is therefore representative of the online universe of dads. The results of this global study were compiled into our Modern Dad report.

Fatherhood is viewed positively and is seen as a life goal in SA.

Being a father in South Africa is something that non-dads polled aspire to one day, with 84% of local men hoping to become parents. This rates far higher than the global average of aspirant fathers, which is 75% and is reinforced by the fact that 80% of all participants in the study believe that life would not be complete without their kids. Dad’s polled say that playing with their children is the number 1 activity that improves their mood.

Dads expect to be heavily involved in their children’s lives. Unlike previous generations of fathers, modern dads expect to be as hands-on in raising their children as mothers are. In South Africa, this figure is high at 90%, while global dads sit at 81%. On an international scale, more men do appear to be involved in daily routines than before, including things such as getting kids ready for school in the morning (56%) and doing the school run (64%), as well as helping with dinner time (65%), story time (67%) and bed time (72%). Also noteworthy is that 72% of men globally believe that a single parent can raise a child as well as a couple can, which is perhaps a contributing factor to this more hands-on approach.

Having kids makes dads healthier, by proxy. The number one role that global dads fulfil for children is still play and all the forms this takes, at 84%. We’ve also found that men take better care of their mental and physical wellbeing after becoming parents, as opposed to non-dads. This pertains to longevity, the ability to experience more of their children’s’ lives and of course, to be around to provide for them. When it comes to diet, 51% of dads versus 47% of non-dads say they eat healthier, while 40% of dads versus 35% of non-dads are concerned about the effects of stress on their body.

Modern dads value spending time with their children, and desire to have a different relationship to their children than their own fathers had, as they reshape the traditional perspective and roles of fathers.

Modern Dads