Skip to main content

Dove Men+Care data reveals persistent paternity leave stigmas

Printer-friendly version
Timed with the new federal parental leave policies, digital campaign results shine spotlight on attitudes that hold men back from taking the time to care
Dove Men+Care
Publication Date: 
23 Apr 2019


TORONTO, April 23, 2019 /CNW/ - One month after Canada's new Parental Sharing Benefit came into effect, granting families an additional five weeks of leave if taken by the non-birthing parent, new data from a Dove Men+Care digital campaign shows that persistent social stigmas and traditional views of fatherhood and masculinity may be to blame for more Canadian fathers not taking paternity leave. Launched immediately after the new legislation came into effect on March 17th, Dove Men+Care's digital and out of home campaign sparked discussion by casting light on continuing social stigmas in order to encourage Canadians to reevaluate their views of fatherhood and paternity leave.

"With Canada's new parental leave policies, we think it's an important moment to encourage Canadians to take the time to change the conversation around parental leave," says Leslie Golts, Marketing Lead at Unilever (Dove Brand & Skin Cleansing Category). "The results demonstrate that, while the image of fatherhood is evolving, there's still a lot of work to do to make paternity leave stigmas a thing of the past."

Inspired by actual online commentary, the campaign confronted users with real online comments that were paraphrased such as "Paternity leave is for wimps", "Fathers use paternity leave as vacation" and "Bonding is for weekends", asking them vote on whether they agreed. The statements could also be seen at digital kiosks at Union Station, Yonge & Eglinton Centre, and Fairview Mall, as well as on Twitter and on

The results show that, while the majority of respondents disagreed with the stigma statements, attitudes that echo traditional forms of masculinity remain pervasive. For example, 24 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, "Paternity leave? No, bonding is for weekends", perhaps reflecting an assumption that men require less bonding time with their children. While 33 percent agreed that fathers are the ones to pay bills for their families.

Results for all stigma statements below:

  • "Paternity Leave is for Wimps"
    • Agree: 8 percent
    • Disagree: 92 percent
  • "Fathers just use Paternity Leave as a vacation"
    • Agree: 12 percent
    • Disagree: 88 percent
  • "Paternity Leave? No, bonding is for weekends"
    • Agree: 24 percent
    • Disagree: 76 percent
  • "Paternity Leave? Dads pay bills to support their family" 
    •  Agree: 33 percent
    • Disagree: 67 percent
  • "Dads don't breastfeed. They don't need Paternity Leave"
    • Agree: 5 percent
    • Disagree: 95 percent

Voting took place between March 18 and April 18, 2019 with more than 69,000 votes cast across Twitter, the kiosks and Ogilvy Toronto was the creative agency behind the campaign, Mindshare Canada was the media agency and Edelman Canada handled public relations.

The campaign is the latest from Dove Men+Care championing paternity leave, the brand's global social mission since 2018. Since launching, Dove Men+Care has celebrated modern forms of masculinity. The commitment to paternity leave is a reflection of our continued belief that care is the best of a man and when men have an expanded opportunity to care, there is a positive impact on them and society. Encouraging men to take the time to change the conversation about paternity leave plays a crucial role in a fostering a more gender equitable society.

As part of this commitment, Dove Men+Care sponsored "Combating the Paternity Leave Stigma", a study that explored Canada's attitudes towards paternity leave. Results showed that, while the majority of Canadians support paternity leave and a more gender equal society generally, most dads don't take parental leave. Highlights below and full survey results available.1

  • Canadian men believe in the importance of a father spending time taking care of their child: More than 9 in 10 Canadian men (93 per cent) agree that it is a father's responsibility to be heavily involved in caring for his children and more than 4 in 5 Canadian men (83 per cent) agree that a father should put his children before his career.
  • Millennial fathers are taking longer paternity leaves than their older counter parts: Half of Millennial fathers (49 per cent) report taking more than a week for paternity leave, while only 37 per cent of Gen X fathers have done the same.
  • 3 in 4 Canadian men (73 per cent) agree that men and women should take equal parental leave, but the spouses/partners of Canadian fathers on average take 8 times longer parental leave.
  • While Canadian fathers/fathers-to-be want to take more paternity leave, they are afraid taking time off will negatively impact their finances (75 per cent) and their relationships with their managers at work (51 per cent).

About Dove Men+Care

Dove Men+Care is the first range of products from Dove developed specially for men. Manufactured by Unilever, the line includes the #1 dermatologist recommended body wash. Launched in 2010, the Dove Men+Care portfolio includes bars, body washes, face care, anti-perspirant/deodorants, and hair care. Dove Men+Care is available nationwide in food, drug, and mass outlet stores.

About Unilever Canada

Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In Canada, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe®, Ben & Jerry's®, Breyers®, Degree®, Dove® personal care products, Hellmann's®, Klondike®, Knorr®, Lipton®, Love Beauty and Planet®, Magnum®, Nexxus®, Popsicle®, Pure Leaf®, Q-Tips®, Seventh Generation®, Simple®, St. Ives®, TRESemmé®, and Vaseline®. All of the preceding brand names are owned or used under license by Unilever Canada Inc.

Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company's strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. Globally, the company's sustainable living brands grew 46 percent faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 70 percent of the company's growth in 2017.

Entered Date: 
24 Apr 2019
Premium Drupal Themes by Adaptivethemes