’Eager Dads’ and ’Dads against Their Will’, or Why Russian Dads are Reluctant to Go on Parental Leave

’Eager Dads’ and ’Dads against Their Will’, or Why Russian Dads are Reluctant to Go on Parental Leave

Bezrukova O.N.

Cand. Sci. (Sociol.), Acting Head of the Department of youth sociology and youth policy, Saint Petersburg State University. Saint Petersburg, Russia. o.bezrukova@spbu.ru

Samoilova V.А.

Cand. Sci (Psychol.), Assoc. Prof., Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint-Petersburg, Russia v.samojlova@spbu.ru

ID of the Article:

The study was funded by RFBR, research project No. 19-011-00543.

For citation:

Bezrukova O.N., Samoilova V.А. ’Eager Dads’ and ’Dads against Their Will’, or Why Russian Dads are Reluctant to Go on Parental Leave. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2019. No 7. P. 90-101


Based on 40 interviews with young fathers, both supporters and opponents of paternity leave, we analyze the paternity patterns and images, the motivation to apply for parental leave, the related risks, fears, and concerns. We consider gender stereotypes about fathers’ daily participation in the baby care, offering a typology of fathers that act as supporters (Universal Dad and Non-Stop Dad) and opponents of paternal leave (Strategic Dad and Tactical Dad). We conclude that positive motivation of paternity, mature parental identity, high level of family income, the ability to combine childcare with flexible employment, and approving attitude on the part of mothers allow fathers to realize themselves in the Eager Dad pattern. The involuntary parental leave corresponding to Dads against their Will pattern develops due to father’s lack of work, precariazation, conflicting relations with the employer, disability, and mother’s opportunities. Institutional, structural and socio-cultural factors act as the barriers that prevent men from participation in the new paternity practice.

fatherhood; masculinity; paternity leave; children; motherhood; gender stereotypes; gender equality; family policy


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Content No 7, 2019