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Real men take note

From April 26, 2023, fathers in Poland have had the individual right to parental leave, of which nine weeks a year are reserved only for them – if they do not use it, they will lose it.

The new legal order does not affect the position of mothers, but aims to help them develop their potential on the labor market and in other areas of social life. As evidenced by research from other countries, it is aimed to improve the situation of men themselves, because today a “real man” means something completely different than in the past.

In the past, it was enough to have a good job and support a family financially in order to receive the title of “real man.”

“The cult of the man as the sole breadwinner is collapsing because the stereotypical man does not fit into the new vision of the world. In the past, for men, taking care of the family meant ensuring its financial security. Today, it more and more often means building bonds, i.e. ensuring emotional security. This is a big generational change,” says Karolina Andrian, president of the Share the Care Foundation, initiator of the “100 PRO MAN. How to benefit from paternity and nine weeks of parental leave only for fathers,” which started on June 23 on Father’s Day.

Its purpose is to make fathers aware of the important role they have to play in the lives of their children, because the foundation’s research shows that many are not aware of it. The guide published as part of the campaign explains, in an accessible way, e.g. how men can take advantage of the “new” parental leave and how their partners and employers can support them.

Brands play an important role in this process of transformation of masculinity and fatherhood. Gillette, a brand belonging to Procter&Gamble portfolio, a strategic partner of the “100 PRO MAN” campaign, has always supported men to look, feel, and be their best every day. Seeing that the parental role is becoming an important part of men’s identification, it aims to support men with the rights tools and information on fatherhood to become equally important to the child as mom.

 “Progressive society increasingly recognizes men as role models for the next generation. Men don’t just want to be the ones making money and providing for the family. They increasingly see the value in building relationships with their children and their partners by sharing the care,” says Goran Sutinovski, Brand Director of the Gillette brand in Central Europe.

We are witnessing the creation of new social norms, but in order to move from declarations to reality, both women and men must “do their homework”. While both agree that both genders are equally good carers for their children (79%), so far only 1% of men have taken parental leave. “With the entry into force of the work-life balance directive, men gain nine weeks of parental leave for themselves. They no longer ‘take’ anything from their partner. We hope that this will encourage several dozen percent of men to take advantage of this opportunity to build bonds with their children and support their partners in their professional development,” stresses Andrian.

In Iceland, where gender equality is socially established, 66% of Polish fathers living in the country take parental leave. This is probably the best proof that a favorable environment and regulations change reality, and cultural patterns recede into the background.

“The world is moving forward and so are we. It is often easier to fly on the proverbial autopilot brought from home than to stop and consider whether what I am doing is consistent with what I want. Often, even when we know what we want, we postpone the implementation of our plans or the implementation of the desired resolutions for later. The question is why and is it worth it? No, because there are things you shouldn’t postpone. The opportunity to engage and get to know your children from the earliest months is an important experience and one that will not be repeated. Children grow up and even if they need us, it’s at a different stage, in a different area. That is why it is worth being present from the beginning, at various stages of our children’s lives, because time cannot be turned back,” says Sutinovski.

We invite you to download the guide: 100 PRO MAN. How to benefit from paternity and nine weeks of parental leave only for fathers

Sylwia Ziemacka
Sylwia Ziemacka
“I believe our unique selling point is that we focus on what brings us together. Poland Weekly offers something you will not find anywhere else: a truly international and unifying perspective focused on content that builds cooperation and mutual understanding. This attitude doesn't make us naïve, but it allows us to focus on mutual understanding and a search for solutions. There are so many new challenges that we are all facing, such as energy transformation, climate change and supply chain disruption, to name but a few. By working together and sharing good practices, we can achieve so much more.”