Stéfanie André: Fathers’ role models, work-care balance, and work-care policy
André’s research focuses on why some parents make use of schemes like parental leave while others don’t. She concludes that parents are willing to divide work and care-giving more equally, but that this does not always work in practice. “It is important for children that both parents be involved in their upbringing. I want to look at the extent to which men are influenced by their own parents in their choices for work or care-giving. Do they see their father as a role model or on the contrary as an anti-role model? In this way, I hope to gain insight into who Dutch men see as their role models when it comes to balancing work and care-giving responsibilities. The next step is to look at how this affect people’s use of work-care schemes,” she explains.
To find answers, she interviews fathers and their adult sons on their ambitions and behaviour around work and care-giving, and looks at schemes such as working from home, flexible working, and parental leave. André: “If we want government policy measures, such as longer paternity leave, to achieve their intended purpose, we need to know what effects they have, and in what context they work. This may incite more fathers to choose for themselves, and for what they themselves want when it comes to work/care balance, rather than going along with mainstream social expectations whereby the father works full-time and the mother combines work and care. If we want to give fathers this opportunity, we need to know what measures can help them.”
Katerina Manevska: Why adults change their minds
Once people reach adult age, do they remain forever convinced of their beliefs? Researcher Manevska sees plenty of examples to the contrary: adults who start believing in conspiracy theories, suddenly find Black Pete racist, or turn their backs on politics. Katerina Manevska: “These kinds of recent social changes indicate a shift in political and cultural mindsets. And yet, empirical research on change has so far mainly found evidence for people’s remaining faithful to their opinions. This may be because the research strategies used are inadequate. With this project, I hope to develop new empirical strategies for investigating changes in mindset in adults.”
Manevska seeks collaboration with international colleagues to produce a methodological paper outlining these new empirical strategies. She is also subjecting these methods to some preliminary testing. “In addition, we are making long-term plans to study changes in mindset, also between countries,” the researcher says. “This information is incredibly valuable, and it can help with current and future societal challenges. Take climate change, for example: any real solution to this crisis requires a change in thinking. Only then will people support government action.”