Behold the power of a dad.
Approximately 80% of all the men and boys in the world will become dads in their lifetime.
That's a lot of dads (and dad-like figures)! And we've never really studied them ... until now.
The first ever global report on dads just came out. Here's what it says.
The main thing I learned? That men are a major part of the solution to achieve gender equality.
Here are five major ways how:
1) When fathers are involved before, during, and after the birth of a child, the positive effects are huge.
In low- and middle-income countries, researchers found that male involvement was significantly associated with improved skilled birth attendance, utilization of postnatal care, and fewer women dying in childbirth.
Fewer women dying. That's a big deal.
They also found that male involvement helped to influence a woman's decision to immunize her child, which can be a lifesaver in itself.
2) Up to 77% of dads said that they would work less if it meant that they could have more time with their kids.
Maternity leave has become widespread in the world (except in the United States ... don't get me started on that!), but only 92 countries offer paternity leave for fathers — and usually only for a few weeks.
Except in Iceland. Iceland knows what's up, and men there take an average of 103 days of paid leave. That is AWESOME!
3) Involved fatherhood helps children thrive.
The report shows that a father's involvement has been linked to a lot of important factors in a child's development, including lower rates of depression, fear, and self-doubt.
4) Equality in the home means lower rates of violence against women and children.
Approximately 1 in 3 women will experience violence at the hands of a male partner in her lifetime. That statistic affects kids too, as they often witness some kind of violence in their home or even experience it themselves.
Studies have shown that boys who experience violence in their childhood are more likely to use it when they grow up. But research finds that a more balanced approach to caregiving between men and women can contribute to lower rates of violence toward children in the home and later on in their lives.
5) Sharing responsibilities in the home can alter the future.
The report shows that women spend 2-10 times longer, on average, caring for a child or older person than men do. If that gap were to close, it'd have a tremendous impact.
" When fathers take on their fair share of the unpaid care work, it can alter the nature of the relationships between men and women and children," said Nikki van der Gaag, State of the World's Fathers report author. "Both fathers and mothers will have more time for their children, women are released from some of their 'double burden,' and fathers get to experience the joys, satisfactions, and stresses of caring for their children."