The parenting campaign that aims to normalise fathers taking equal childcare responsibility

Elliott Rae and the Parenting Out Loud Campaign

by Cat Hufton |
Updated on

For most working fathers in the UK, a very short and often unpaid two-week paternity leave is all they can expect from their employers once their partner gives birth. While some companies are more generous, research shows that many men don’t take any further paternity leave even when it’s offered in fear of it impacting their job or finances.

Research published by Pregnant The Screwed, for instance, reports that 3 in 5 fathers (63.7%) took two weeks or less paternity leave following the birth of their most recent child, while half (48.3%) of fathers who had access to enhanced paternity pay were still only able to take two weeks or less of paternity leave.

Asking for more flexible hours to do the school run or care for a sick child is equally difficult. Unsurprisingly, research published by Bright Horizons in 2023 revealed that 1 in 3 working dads do not feel comfortable talking to their employer about their family commitments.

It’s this type of stigma in the workplace that campaigner and author Elliott Rae wants to change with Parenting Out Loud, a campaign that supports working dads to be equal and active parents.

Elliott Rae at the Parenting Out Loud launch
©Elliott Rae / Parenting Out Loud

Speaking at the official launch on Tuesday 30th of April this year Elliott said, “I launched the Parenting Out Loud campaign to really raise awareness of some of the challenges that working dads have in being loud and proud about their caring responsibilities at work”.

He says that the campaign seeks to normalise the conversation about males caring across society while asking important questions such as how do we work with employers to help them to build workplace cultures that enable and encourage dads to be equal and active parents?

“When children have engaged and positive parental involvement from a dad, they have better outcomes in regards to resilience, education and behavioural outcomes at school.” he continues. “It’s also good for business. You will see the impact when you’re open about your parental leave policies and flexible working, dads are so loyal to that organisation. They will stay”.

A cultural shift this significant would not only benefit children and their families, but specifically the gender pay gap that attributes 80% of its issues to the motherhood penalty, according to the World Economic Forum. Research from Sweden also suggests that for every additional month of paternity leave taken by fathers, a mother’s lifetime earnings rises by 6.7%.

Parenting Out Loud - The culture change programme launch event
©Elliott Rae / Parenting Out Loud

Joeli Brearley, supporter of the campaign and founder of the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, said at the event, “It is really important that we change legislation and cultural narratives around whose responsibility it is to do the caring. We know that dads are desperate to spend more time with their children,”

“The State of the World’s Father’s report found that 85% of dads said they would do anything to spend more time with their kids." She continued, "it’s really important that we’re here to push that message and to show that caring is masculine and caring matters".

Stella Creasy, Labour MP for Walthamstow added: “We are now very aware of the debate around how gender inequality affects women in the workplace, but we’re still not talking about the fact that its denying men the opportunity to develop those close nurturing relationships they want with their kids, and to have the kind of work life balance they want. All the while we don’t do that, we’re still baking in the ways we work in modern life. That is inequality”.

Rethinking the role of a father is something that Elliott is so incredibly passionate about and wants businesses across the UK to challenge. “When we’re looking at gender equality in the workplace and women’s progression in the workplace, engaging dads to be equal and active parents from the very beginning is so important,” he says.

“We know that eighty percent of the gender pay gap is attributed to the Motherhood Penalty, and the gender pay gap is twice as high for women over forty as it is for women under forty. Having a baby impacts a women’s career in a way it doesn’t impact dads’ career currently”.

So what does this mean pragmatically? For businesses that sign up to the Parenting Out Loud culture change programme, Elliott and his team will support them in organisation-wide workshops and webinars, resources to support the formation and running of a staff dad’s network, coaching for new dads, support for staff network chairs and roundtables with senior leadership teams.

Elliott says this will lead to increased paternity leave take-up, more men working flexibly and part-time, more dads normalising care giving in the workplace and more empowered and active male allies.

With working families facing a cost-of-living crisis and soaring childcare fees, allowing both parents to play an equal part in their childcare responsibilities without fear of reprisal could not come soon enough.

For more information about the campaign and how businesses can get involved, visit Elliott’s homepage or contact him at

Cat Hufton is a freelance journalist and writer who has worked for some of fashion’s most iconic companies and written for the world’s best known magazines and newspapers.

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