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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Respect for father

This opinion piece is about 10 years old

Pete Latchford believes its time for dads to be brought in from the cold and given equal rights to mums

Pete Latchford, fathers' rights campaigner
Pete Latchford, fathers' rights campaigner

It is nothing new to hear fathers get a raw deal from society. Legislation and policy has been geared against them for decades. Part of this has its roots in gender inequality which placed women at a distinct disadvantage so that the one area seen as sacrosanct was motherhood.

However society has moved on. Equal rights legislation is progressing when rights for fathers are not being addressed.

The issue is not mothers against fathers; it is about equal rights for all parents. That means equal parenting where fathers are not discriminated against by the health service, the workplace and, indeed, legislation.

Any father who has been through a divorce will recognise the inequality they face. Financially they are penalised and emotionally they are victimised. Courts automatically err in favour of the mother because they are seen as the safe option. This however is not backed by evidence.

Social care is another element that needs to change. Men are underrepresented in this sector and more need to be encouraged to enter it. Only then will fathers get empathy and understanding from professionals in the medical profession, social work and preschool care groups.

Things need to change and this report is the first step. Scotland is facing exciting times but whatever way the country votes in the referendum we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that we have the power to become a progressive, modern country that is not afraid to address historical problems.

Pete Latchford is a fathers’ rights campaigner and a former member of Fathers for Justice. He submitted evidence to the equal rights committee’s consultation on fathers and parenting.