How young men adapt to fatherhood and whether being a father can speed up becoming an adult is to be examined in new research.

Dr Francesca Salvi, a childhood studies expert in the School of Education and Childhood Studies at the University of Portsmouth, is to work with new fathers aged 16-24 in South Africa.

You hear about parenting and it almost always concerns motherhood. I wanted to identify how men are contributing, what does fatherhood mean to young men and does it equal adulthood in the same way as for women.

Dr Francesca Salvi, School of Education and Childhood Studies

Dr Salvi said: “You hear about parenting and it almost always concerns motherhood. I wanted to identify how men are contributing, what does fatherhood mean to young men and does it equal adulthood in the same way as for women.

“Gender norms appear to be shifting in South Africa, as suggested for example, by the rise of female employment and female-headed households.

“Focusing on young fatherhood is a lens through which we can, not only ascertain how individuals understand the social and cultural norms that define their options, but also understand how they contribute to redefining and changing such norms.”

Focusing on young fatherhood is a lens through which we can, not only ascertain how individuals understand the social and cultural norms that define their options, but also understand how they contribute to redefining and changing such norms.

Dr Francesca Salvi, School of Education and Childhood Studies

Dr Salvi will carrying out her research in Durban this summer via qualitative interviews with 15 young fathers, and working with researchers at South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal.

She was awarded funding for the research by the British Academy though the Newton Mobility Fund.

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