Evidence for Change
Healthy Male has drawn together the views of experts in reproductive health, knowledge from reviewed literature, analysis of national policies and guidelines, and the experiences and suggestions of hundreds of men and health practitioners.
The evidence and feedback highlighted four consistent themes:
- Australian fathers have unmet needs and diverse experiences
- Traditional norms can negatively influence the roles, support and experiences of men (and women)
- The health system’s focus on mothers masks opportunities to support and prepare men for fatherhood
- The knowledge and skills of men and health practitioners in relation to fatherhood need to be strengthened.
Quotes from men involved in our surveys
“My involvement was treated as entirely voluntary rather than engaging me to show me how I can be better involved and equipped for what was to come.”
“Don’t just include fathers, treat us as equal partners and parents...Prepare fathers for being a dad and don’t just treat us as assistants, carers or servants to our partners. Inform us of the severe emotional and mental changes that we may undergo after the birth.”
“Understand that we are overwhelmed and a little bit scared.”
“... having a child was still the most important event of my life, and yet I was often ignored completely during consultations preconception, during the pregnancy, and perinatally. Being treated like a member of the team on more occasions would have been valued.”
“Wasn’t even acknowledged. Could have been invisible.”
Quotes from health practitioners involved in our surveys and consultations
“The whole system squeezes men out. There are no universal structures within the system to engage men.”
“…the biggest differences in society’s gender roles show up when we have children …..the system reinforces that men have to be strong.”
“We’ve gone too far with ‘women-centred care’. It should be ‘family-centred, woman focused’
“There is a lot of literature about engaging fathers – we know what to do but we don’t systematically apply the principles."
Not only did we discover a pressing need for change, we found a strong desire for change amongst men, health practitioners and policy makers.
A report on two national surveys about men’s health needs and experiences on their pathways to fatherhood. The first survey asked men about their experiences of the health system. The second survey explored health practitioners’ practice, systems and processes for engaging men.