International Conference on Fatherhood in the 21st Century Asia: Research, Interventions, and Policies
Asia Research Institute and Changing Family in Asia Cluster, National University of Singapore
Supported jointly by:
Asia Research Institute, Dads For Life and the Family Research Network
17 - 18 Jun 2010
National University of Singapore
Prof W. Jean Yeung
Asia Research Institute and Department of Sociology,
National University of Singapore
This conference will provide a platform for scholars and policy makers to discuss issues related to the trend, determinants, and consequences of father involvement, as well as policies and interventions that engage men in family lives in Asia. We aim to gain a better understanding about (1) the nature of Asian menís diverse roles and challenges they face in becoming involved in their childrenís lives, (2) diverse policies and practice-based interventions related to fatherhood in Asian countries.
A number of profound demographic and socioeconomic transformations in the second half of the 20th century have significantly altered menís roles in the family. There is a heightened expectation of menís family involvement as the gender ideologies become more egalitarian, labor market attachment among women with young children strengthens, marital dissolution rates rise, and the geographic mobility increases as the globalization forces unfold. Previously expected to be primarily an economic provider and a moral teacher, the ďnew fathersĒ are now expected to also provide day-to-day physical and emotional care to children as an equal partner of the mother. Despite findings of a considerably lower level of physical involvement by fathers in the child rearing activities than mothers, recent studies have demonstrated that fatherís involvement, both in absolute and relative terms, has increased in many western industrialized countries. A burgeoned body of literature documents the positive associations between fathersí involvement and childrenís well-being, martial relationship, and fatherís own development. Research has shown that variability in menís transitions to fatherhood predicts different trajectories and outcomes regarding father involvement and family well-being.
Most such research has been conducted in the western industrialized countries. Little systematic work has been conducted on fatherhood in Asia where family research has traditionally focused on motherís roles. There is a need to understand whether and how menís family roles has changed, how they differ from those in the western societies, and what consequences such changes have on the well-being of family members. In Asia, families are experiencing rapid transitions under diverse cultural, demographic, socioeconomic, and policy contexts. For example, in many societies, patriarchy remains a dominant family ideology despite an impressive increase in womenís education and labor force participation. Many men retain the main disciplinary figure in the family and refrain from showing emotional support to children. In China, the one-child policy has had a significant impact on gender roles, and on parent-child relationships. In countries such as the Philippines or Sri Lanka, a large number of women leave their families for a long stretch of time to work in other countries, leaving children with their fathers. In Singapore, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and HK, the ďultra-lowĒ fertility rates have altered family dynamics and changed expectations to menís roles. Other trends such as an increase in interracial or transnational marriages and the wide range of work-family policies in different Asian countries are likely to have varied impacted on menís family roles in these countries.
This conference will bring together researchers and policy makers who are interested in fatherhood in Asia to explore the diversity and challenges of fatherhood, encompassing differences across social class, ethnic origin, life course, and cultural contexts. We also invite papers that address different policies and interventions regarding fatherhood in Asian countries.
We welcome interdisciplinary research including, though not limited, to the following topics:
∑ Who are fathers? The demography of fathers.
∑ Conceptualization and measurement of fatherhood Ė defining fatherhood, biological vs. social fatherhood, multiple domains of involvement
∑ Fatherhood ideologies and attitudes, what constitutes a good father
∑ Father involvement compared to motherís involvement Ė trends, variations and barriers
∑ Multidisciplinary perspectives on father involvement, from sociological psychological, anthropological, economic and public policy theories and frameworks
∑ Consequences of father involvement on childrenís development
∑ Single fathers, nonresidential fathers, stepfathers, or other surrogate fathers
∑ Impact of father involvement on marital quality and childbearing decisions
∑ Challenges in work-family balance for men
∑ Determinants of the initiation of fathering and father involvement
∑ Fathering and menís own well-being (e.g., health, psychological well-being, labor market behavior)
∑ Fatherhood and Public Policies: work place policies (e.g., sick leave, flexible work hours) child support, paternity leave, responsible fatherhood programs and other policy interventions
∑ Supporting fathering through practice: fatherhood programmes, tools, and resources to supporting involvement of diverse groups of fathers
Paper proposals should include a 250-word abstract and a short biography by 15 March 2010. The Paper Proposal Submission Form can be found on the website at the following link:
Please submit and address all applications to Miss Sharon Ong(firstname.lastname@example.org) of the Asia Research Institute, NUS. Successful applicants will be notified by 31 March 2010 and will be required to send in a completed paper by 15 May 2010.
Based on the quality of proposals and availability of funds, partial or full funding will be granted to successful applicants. Full funding will cover air travel to Singapore by the most economical means, and board and lodging for the duration of the conference.
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