From our Partners: “On Taking Time to Be a Father,” UNFPA

When fathers are engaged in promoting the health and rights of women and children, their partners are happier, their children are more fulfilled, and societies reap abundant economic and social benefits. The engagement of fathers can also foster joint decision-making and improve couples’ communication, which builds healthy relationships based on mutual trust and respect. Fathers can play a powerful role in transforming rigid gender norms, promoting women’s and girls’ empowerment and well-being, and ending gender-based discrimination and violence.

The schools for husbands, developed in Niger and replicated in several other countries, are a living example of how men’s involvement in sexual and reproductive health, including voluntary family planning, can make a difference in the lives of families and communities. Wives and daughters do not have to hide anymore to exercise their right to reproductive health or to voluntary family planning. Quite the opposite: they are strongly encouraged by their husbands and fathers to seek these services.

By promoting gender equality and human rights within our own families and communities, we, fathers of the world, can create the future we want, a future where individuals believe in themselves and in the inherent worth and dignity of every human being. It is simple and powerful. Take time to be a father.

Click here to read the full commentary by Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin of UNFPA at the Huffington Post.