THE Cyprus Fatherhood Initiative appealed on Friday to all political parties asking them to present their proposals on parenthood equality ahead of the parliamentary elections in May.
In a letter, the group urges political parties to initiate a dialogue on parental equality, which, according to the group, is “a very important social problem that exists today”.
“We have formed our group to promote paternity as a responsibility, but also as a right that must be enjoyed by fathers and our children,” the letter said.
Although gender roles are not as distinct as in the past, the group said, “they unfortunately still exist today and reproduce in our society outdated and sexist attitudes about the two genders that lead to discrimination against one sex or the other”.
Fatherhood, it said, despite its huge importance, faces several challenges as the law and society treat fathers as second-class parents, “a perception reproduced and perpetuated through various means”.
Even among fathers, the group said, many are those who have the “antiquated perception of a father who played a secondary parenting role leaving entirely the care of children to the mother”. The rapid increase in the number of divorces in recent years has intensified the depreciation of paternity, the letter said, as many fathers who love their children are treated instead of parents, as ‘guests’ and ‘alimony cheque’ and many are being completely alienated from their children.
“Modern research shows that the parental role of the father is equal to that of the mother, and equally as important for the normal psychosocial development of children,” the group said. “More and more fathers understand the importance of fatherhood and assume the equivalent to the mother role they deserve”.
The group said that in view of the parliamentary elections, they expect each party’s official positions on the specific issue.
“We want this to be the beginning of an honest and constructive dialogue that will lead to restoring fatherhood as an equal parenting role, through various steps that we are willing to propose, always in pursuit of equality between the sexes in all areas,” it concluded.