Welfare states and play dates: fatherhood and masculinity in Canada and the United States
Rehel, Erin M.
In this dissertation, I examine the connection between fatherhood, work, social policy, and shifting ideals of masculinity in the United States and Canada. Drawing from 85 semi-structured interviews with fathers and their female partners, I argue that fathers today draw on newer forms of masculinity in how they think about and attempt to do “fathering,” but that structural factors supporting more traditional forms of masculinity allow them to fall back into less involved fathering. I was granted access to a multinational financial services firm and drew my sample of fathers from within this single firm. By sampling from within the same firm, I was able to control for some of the work-related variability that previous research has shown to influence father involvement. Each of the four substantive chapters focuses on one such structural factor, highlighting how it enables or limits father involvement. These factors are: the availability and use of paternity leave, the presence and involvement of extended kin in child care, the organization of child care, and the geographic separation of work and family life.