70 years ago, most UK fathers wouldn't change a nappy! Today? What does this have to do with improving your spoken English? Join us today and take a dive deep into the heart of UK history and culture by understanding the evolving role of UK Dads. But hey, it's not just about the dads!
Children are the anchors of a mother's life.
Join our merry band of Adept English learners who don't just "know" the language - they experience it. Ever wondered how fatherhood in the UK isn't what it used to be? Peel back the curtain and dive deep into a topic that’s more than just British culture. Here's a chance to not only understand an evolving societal role but also to sharpen your English listening skills in the process.
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The times, they are a-changin'.
⭐ Bob Dylan
Discover how fatherhood roles have changed in the UK and enhance your English listening skills through this insightful lesson. This isn't just about British culture; it's about evolving societal roles and how they intersect with language learning.
The only constant in life is change.
- Introduction to multiple English vocabulary terms, e.g., 'nappy' vs. 'diaper'.
- Exploration of British English phrases, such as 'under duress'.
- Explanation of the term 'unpaid work in the home' with examples.
- Differentiation between 'maternity' and 'paternity' leave.
- Use of idiomatic expressions, e.g., 'I’ve been there and done that'.
- Discussion on 'structural barriers' and 'structural inequality'.
- Introduction to workplace terminology: 'part-time', 'promotion'.
- Vocabulary around familial roles: 'main caregiver', 'working mothers'.
- Clarification of 'patriarchy' and the history of gender roles.
- Mention of 'women returners', highlighting return-to-work challenges.
- Cultural Insights: Delve deep into the heart of British culture beyond just tea and the Queen. Understand intimate shifts in everyday roles, like fatherhood.
- Skill Enhancement: By immersing in this narrative, you're subconsciously boosting your English listening skills. The lesson uses authentic British intonations and nuances which are stepping stones to fluency.
- Engaging Content: This isn't a regular lesson; it’s an experience. This lesson is your passport to not just speaking English, but feeling it.
When you teach your son, you teach your son's son.
⭐ The Talmud
- Shared Parental Leave: Introduced in 2015, it allows parents in the UK to share leave post birth or adoption. A look into changing UK family dynamics.
- Stay-at-Home Dads: By the early 2010s, their numbers had nearly doubled, reflecting changing views on masculinity and parenthood.
- Fathers' Mental Health: A rising focus on fathers' well-being, breaking gendered stereotypes and enriching English learners' emotional vocabulary.
Engaging in culturally rich topics, even if they seem complex, aids in a holistic learning process. Here's how:
- Tackle Fears: Lessons centred on British culture immerse you in authentic English, making it easier to pick up the accent and local sayings.
- Stretch Your Learning: Even intricate subjects are simplified in our lessons. Embrace challenges to push closer to fluency.
- Community Connection: Our active learner community lets you engage, share, and grow together in your English journey.
- More than Vocabulary: Dive into meaningful context, absorb the culture, and live the English language.
🎧 Dive deep into UK's evolving fatherhood trends & master real-life English! Elevate your listening skills and join our global community. Subscribe now!
Venturing into the heart of British history is like unwrapping layers of a timeless onion; with each peel, we find shifts in fatherhood and a treasure of English language nuances waiting to be explored.
- How can I learn to speak British English fluently through this lesson?
You'll find that immersion and exposure to authentic content is key. By listening to a topical discussion about evolving fatherhood roles in the UK, you'll be exposed to native British English, enhancing your pronunciation, intonation, and understanding of the language.
- How does the topic of fatherhood roles in the UK help improve English listening skills?
Engaging topics keep you curious and motivated. When you're keen to understand the changes in fatherhood roles, you'll naturally listen more intently, picking up nuances and broadening your vocabulary in the process.
- Is there a difference between British and American English vocabulary in this context?
Indeed, there are subtle differences in vocabulary between British and American English. This lesson offers a comparative view, allowing you to familiarize yourself with variations and enrich your language learning journey.
- How often should I listen to this lesson to boost my English skills?
Language learning is a journey, and consistent exposure is pivotal. I'd recommend listening multiple times until you feel comfortable with the content. The more you engage, the more you'll internalize and learn.
- Does understanding societal changes in the UK help in language learning?
Absolutely. Language isn't just words; it's culture, history, and societal norms. By understanding the shifts in fatherhood roles, you'll gain insight into British culture, making your learning experience more holistic and meaningful.
- Duress: Forced obligation or pressure.
- Patriarchy: A system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of leadership.
- Inequity: Unfairness or bias.
- Unacknowledged: Not recognized or admitted.
- Part-timer: Someone who works less than the regular hours.
- Loafing: Spending time idly or lazily.
- Predominates: Is the strongest or main element; is greater in number or amount.
- Self-employed: Working for oneself as a freelancer or the owner of a business.
- Progressive: Favouring or promoting progress or change.
- Incompatible: Unable to exist or work together without conflict.
Hi there. Are you a father? Or if you’re too young, do you want to be a father in the future? And if you’re a woman or girl who has, or who would like to have children in the future - how involved in their care do you want the father to be? This week I had lovely news - my nephew and his partner had their first child - a baby girl. And very sweet she is too! Just listening to all the delights and challenges they are facing, reminded me of what this was like for me when I had children. My nephew wants to be a very involved dad, and so I was thinking about how involved fathers are in the care of their children? This is something which differs enormously across the world and across cultures. What's intriguing? The role of fathers, especially in the UK, has evolved dramatically over the decades. And I found some interesting statistics and reports on this too. So as ever, if you're someone who's eager to improve your English listening skills while delving into fascinating topics, you're in the right place!
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So our topic today? How involved are fathers in the care of their children? Let's imagine something. Picture the dads in the UK in the 1970s. Do you see them changing nappies or reading bedtime stories? Fast-forward to 2023, and you'll notice a distinct shift. My own dad introduced me to art, painting, and the wonders of British wildlife. However, would he have known how to change a nappy? You might know the American word for that - ’diaper’, DIAPER, but in British English we say ‘nappy’, NAPPY! Well, that's probably a story for another day - but I think that probably my dad wouldn’t have known what to do with changing a nappy! But British fathers today, including my nephew, are much more hands-on. Would my dad have looked after me while my mother went out? Well, perhaps occasionally, under duress - that means ‘against his choice’. But my mother was absolutely the main caregiver for me - and that’s how it was for many people growing up in the UK when I did.
A man and a baby. Dive deep into UK's evolving fatherhood trends & master real-life English!
But that contrasts with now. As I say, my nephew wants to be very involved in the care of his daughter - and I would say that this is more the norm, more the usual situation in 2023. I came across an interesting study, 'The State of the World's Fathers' it was called. Before I get into that, I’d love to hear your comments - what is the father's role in your culture? And what would you like it to be? Oh - and by the way, our previous Spotify polls told us that 89% of you like grammar podcasts. Also that 76% of you would prefer to watch the film ‘Oppenheimer’ rather that “Barbie’. Interesting results! Anyway this study revealed big differences in fathers’ involvement worldwide. And it's not just about spending time with the children; it's also about the 'unpaid work at home'. Ever heard of this term, ‘unpaid work’ or ‘unpaid labour in the home’? It's all those unseen tasks that traditionally fall on women. So how involved are men in families involves also what sociologists call the ‘unpaid work in the home’. This phrase, this term is important because it represents a whole amount of work or effort, which often isn’t talked about, not discussed, not acknowledged, because traditionally ‘women did it’. So ‘unpaid work in the home’ means the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the laundry, cleaning out the children’s lunchboxes, looking after pets, sorting out clothes that children have outgrown, tidying children’s rooms, over-seeing the children’s homework, gardening, putting out the rubbish, taking family members for medical appointments, ironing, tidying. All of this is a significant amount of work or ‘labour’, LABOUR - which is unpaid, and which often goes unacknowledged as effort. And traditionally these are the tasks that women of the family take on.
Naturally, when children come along, there’s a lot more of all this stuff to do. The traditional model has men going out to work, financially supporting the family and women staying home, particularly where there are children, possibly not earning, but certainly focused on this ‘unpaid work in the home’ and the main childcare. So this is how it used to be in countries like the UK, 60-70 years ago it was the default, the norm. But since that time, women have demanded more equality. What this often means is however, that instead of it being equal, they also go out to work and the family is reliant upon their income too - but the women are still combining this with doing most of the ‘unpaid work in the home’. So apart from potentially having more income of their own, I’m not sure this leaves women better off! Surely if both partners in a relationship are working, then there’s no reason why the unpaid work in the home shouldn’t be shared too?
Just taking a moment to acknowledge that in countries like the UK, there are many couples in same-sex relationships bringing up children too. If that’s you, please don’t feel ignored in this discussion - many of the things which I’m talking about will affect you too. But obviously a lot of what I’m describing is about traditional heterosexual partnerships and the relationship across the ages between women and men and the history of what’s become known as ‘patriarchy’, in that. That’s PATRIARCHY. I just wanted to say that, as I don’t want to exclude anyone! And the extent of equality or of patriarchy - it’s a big part of what makes different societies, of course. And many societies still are patriarchal in 2023, so this traditional model is still the norm! So here, I’m coming from a point of view which represents more what it’s like in British culture, in the UK, but clearly this differs massively around the world.
Societal structures still expect women to do the child-rearing and career compromise is ‘written-in’
So the study I came across is called The Equimundo study and its title is ‘The State of the World’s Fathers’. They surveyed nearly 12,000 people in 17 countries and they found that 53% think that gender equality is good for men and women. The organisation, Equimundo is invested in promoting gender equality - that means ‘fairness and the same terms whether you’re a man or a woman’. And they’re saying that although men do want to be more involved in family and childcare and perhaps too ‘the unpaid work in the home’, there are ‘structural barriers to this’. What’s meant by ‘structural barriers to this’? It means that while there’s some support for women, for working mothers, some allowances made by employers, this isn’t always the same for men. A good example - it’s not unusual for women who work and have children in the UK to ask for part-time hours. It’s really, really hard to do a full-time job and be the main carer for children at the same time. I’ve been there and done that - and it’s completely exhausting. You can feel that you have no time for yourself and little ‘quality of life’. Your employer having the foresight to allow you to work part-time can make your life worth living again. And while it’s more usual for women to ask for this and often they get it too - though not in my opinion as easy as it should be - I don’t think that now, even in 2023, men are often given the same understanding. If a father asks to go part-time, the answer is often a firm ‘No’. And this is what the Equimundo report means by ‘structural inequity’. ‘Inequality’, INEQUALITY means ‘it’s not even’ and ‘structural’, STRUCTURAL, in this context means it’s part of how work and society is set up - so it’s really hard to change. And one person isn’t going to be able to change it. It needs thinking about and changing at a higher level.
As I expected, the Equimundo study reported that most of ‘the unpaid work in the home’ is still done by women and girls. The report also found 122 countries give paid leave to fathers when a baby is born. Well that’s good! But 186 countries give paid leave for mothers. ‘Leave’, LEAVE in this context means ‘time off, when you’re had a child’ - it’s also called ‘maternity leave’ or ‘paternity’ leave, depending upon whether you’re a father or mother. Only 81 countries had paternity leave, paid at 100% of previous earnings, and only 45 countries offered 14 weeks or more of paid parental leave for fathers. So that’s good, but not as good as it could be. And to the people who say ‘Why should employers be compromised when people choose to have children? It’s their choice’ - I say that there has to be a way of creating the next generation. And also that if someone is simply wanting to negotiate part-time hours, then they do actually get paid less too. They’re not getting anything for free there and usually the employer usually gets good value for money from part-timer workers. They’re unlikely to be ‘loafing around’ because it’s Friday afternoon!
Often the way the ‘structural barriers’ happen - they’re more subtle and not acknowledged. When I worked part-time in IT and I had young children, I was on a team with other working mothers. And actually, although we’d been ‘allowed’ to do part-time hours, there was an unwritten rule, which we knew - we would never get a promotion while working part-time. And all of our bosses were men, whose wives took care of their children. And yet if any man asked for part-time hours, they would be denied.
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That’s a good example of ‘structural inequality’ - I hope that’s changing! But sometimes it’s expected that it’s the women will do the childcare, who will compromise their careers to do it and that the men don’t get the opportunity. And tI see that message still happening - ‘if you have children, you can’t expect to progress in your career. And it’s seen that having children compromises your career and your ability to work those great long hours that often seem to be expected! No wonder I went off to work for myself and set up my own practice! For the last few years, I’ve had very understanding employer and boss - me! That’s because I’m self-employed and I found that this was the only way to have quality of life in the workplace, while having children. But of course, not everyone is in this situation, not everyone can do this.
Another ‘structural barrier’ - when women who have had children want to return to work. Even in the UK, which I think is relatively progressive, ‘women returners’ meaning ‘women wanting to return to work, having had children’ - are treated appallingly sometimes. It’s as though somehow by having children, they have lost their skills and intelligence - or that’s how it’s seen, at least! The culture of being expected to work long working hours in order to be seen to do a job well - just plain wrong, in my opinion - still predominates and is completely incompatible with having to care for a family. There’s a lot that still needs to change!
I’m interested in your opinion on this - I’m sure it’s a subject that affects many of you too. Let us know! And don’t forget to listen to this podcast a number of times - there’s some great vocabulary to learn in here.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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- Dads may want to do more caretaking
- SOWF 2023
- State of the World’s Fathers 2023
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