Abstract: Fostering Father-Daughter Relationships and Family Well-Being: A Culturally Relevant Community-Based Initiative (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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Fostering Father-Daughter Relationships and Family Well-Being: A Culturally Relevant Community-Based Initiative

Friday, January 13, 2023
Laveen B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Aamir Jamal, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Liza Lorenzetti, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Calgary, AB, Canada
Omer Jamal, Research Assistant, University of Calgary, AB, Canada
Sarah Thomas, BSW, Research Assistant, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Abbas Mancey, Father - Organizer, Alberta Men's Network, AB, Canada
Background: Globally, rigid gender norms of what it means to be a man perpetuate harmful gender inequities. Among such gender norms is men’s limited participation in domestic care work, which hampers women’s empowerment. Research supports that the positive involvement of fathers in caregiving activities cultivates family cohesion and fosters the emotional well-being of fathers and their families. However, there are limited community-based resources that support and celebrate the development of nurturing fatherhood and focus on strengthening father-daughter relationships. In collaboration with diverse communities in Calgary, Canada, a local network launched a community-based and culturally relevant program, Honouring Fathers and Daughters, to promote positive fatherhood roles and to celebrate both nurturing fatherhood practices and the significance of father-daughter relationships.

Methods: A community-based research approach (CBR) was employed for the Honouring Fathers and Daughters Event to gather participants responses. An interdisciplinary team of academics, students, and trained community researchers developed a structured questionnaire that focused on fathers’ perspectives of the event and their learnings and take-aways related to father-daughter relationships. Participants (N=65), from ethnically and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds, including 19 fathers, 17 mothers, and 29 children, joined the program.

Results: Through qualitative analysis, responses indicated three key themes: valuing and appreciating father-daughter relationships, the need for social and cultural spaces for the engagement and transformation of fathers, and the importance of providing opportunities for fathers to learn new strategies for parenting and bonding with their daughters.

Conclusions and Implications: Supporting healthy relationships between fathers and their daughters and providing accessible and culturally relevant supports and services are key approaches for fostering well-being of the whole family. This study highlighted the importance of community-based engagement programs that provide opportunities for peer support and learning to enhance nurturing father-daughter relationships as well as the whole family and promote gender equity amongst communities. Further, the key themes expressed and recorded in these meaningful initiatives are often shared by diaspora with families and friends in countries of their origin. Hence, the social impact of these community events extends from local to global.