This year, on June 20, Father’s day was celebrated for the sixth time in Georgia.
Father’s Day was first celebrated in Georgia in 2016 at the initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Georgia Country Office and the NGO “We Care”, within the frames of the Men Care Campaign funded by the Swedish Government and the European Union.
The event is intended to remind fathers living in Georgia of the importance of their involvement in the process of upbringing their children.
Various studies show that men’s participation in caring for children is crucial for the well-being of women, children and the society and the country in general.
Children of caring fathers are much happier, distinguished by good physical and mental health, high academic achievement, better social skills, high self-esteem, fewer behavioural problems, and increased resilience to stress.
“For us, for the UNFPA Georgia team, establishing Father’s Day is a particularly important and valuable initiative. Our aim is to remind men what equal parenting means, and to remind government agencies and representatives of private sector how important it is to develop and pursue policies that support families. We are glad that, year by year, more and more people and organizations are involved in our initiative. We hope that Father’s Day will become a universal holiday celebrated by children and parents together,” said Ms Lela Bakradze, Head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Georgia Country Office.
According to Mr Mirian Jugheli, co-founder of the Men Care Campaign, “Establishing Father’s Day is another step forward made by our country towards promoting gender equality and father involvement.”
“Father’s Day is a special event celebrated all over the world, when fathers are greeted and honoured by their family members, private or public organizations. On Father’s Day, we remind each other once again of the importance of involving men and equal distribution of household chores for the well-being of children and the family,” said Mr Mirian Jugheli.
Ms Ninia Macharashvili, coordinator of the Men Care Campaign, adds that the celebration of Father’s Day once again emphasizes the importance of father involvement in the process of raising children, friendship and healthy relationships between fathers and children. “With this initiative, we support harmonious relationships and equal distribution of responsibilities in the family,” she said.
However, existing gender stereotypes and established clichés prevent men from taking responsibility and from being caring fathers, husbands, partners and family members.
According to the 2019 research jointly conducted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) – “Men, Women and Gender Relations in Georgia”, childcare responsibilities remain the primary domain of women.
That has served as a reason for us to take a number of important steps within the frames of the Men Care Campaign to encourage the involvement of men as nonviolent and caring fathers and husbands in promoting healthy relations and family well-being, thereby promoting gender equality and empowering women as economic and social actors and strengthening communities.
Let us take a look at the chronology of events that have taken place as part of the Man Care Campaign during these six years, since the first celebration of Father’s Day to the present day:
Since 2016, a number of books for children and parents have been published, including “A book for Children” (in partnership with Artanuji Publishing/2016); “Lullaby for Lilly” (in collaboration with Palitra L Publishing/2017); “Luna and the Planet of Fireflies” (in collaboration with Palitra L Publishing/2020); “Fathers and Children” (in collaboration with Artanuji Publishing/2020).
In 2016, a day-long training module “Men Talking to Men (MTM)” was first implemented in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia. Currently, “Men Talking to Men (MTM)” trainings are held monthly in Kakheti, Samegrelo, Guria, Imereti and Kvemo Kartli regions.
In August 2017, posters showing participants of the Men Care Campaign appeared in the streets of Tbilisi; by participating in a photo project together with their children, the participants were calling on other fathers for spending more time with their children.
Since the same year, “Fathers’ Cup” has been held in partnership with the Georgian Football Federation and the Football Club “Locomotive Tbilisi”. The mini championship is open for any father; fathers participating in the championship assume the role of a coach of a team of four members comprising of girls and boys between the ages of 8-12.
In 2018, Emerging Europe Awards held at the headquarters of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) awarded the Men Care campaign in Georgia first place in its Equality-Friendly Initiative.
In 2020, during the pandemic, the Facebook page “Men Care” reached a total of 1,600,000 people, which is about 70% of the Facebook users in Georgia. Nowadays, the page has 57,736 subscribers.
In 2020, the “Fathers’ Group” was established as an additional tool to increase the involvement of fathers. Currently, 6,800 men are members of the group, and more than 10 posts are published daily.
On May 17, 2021, the first “Fathers’ School” was opened in Tbilisi; the school aims to promote the development of skills and behaviours among men, the skills, which will make them more caring fathers and partners; in addition, the school will help fathers to learn more about gender equality and the stereotypes or harmful social norms that prevent us from achieving real equality in our country.
Traditionally, representatives of government agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, and the private sector will join the Father’s Day celebration.
This year alone, more than 20 small, medium-sized and large businesses are involved in the celebration of Father’s Day; on their own initiative, they offer various special services to fathers and children, to celebrate Father’s Day.