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Social Impact, Male Parenting

MA 22/23
Social Impact, Male Parenting

Nurturing the next generation is a shared responsibility of mankind, and as such governments, businesses, families and society should all take their share of responsibility. The family, as the smallest unit that primarily provides parenting support, bears some negative consequences of parenting, such as the difficulty of balancing family and career, and the difficulty of gaining career advancement. Ideally, these negative effects should be shared by all parties in society, but the current situation in China is that all these negative effects are passed on to the mother, resulting in a physical, psychological and economic 'motherhood penalty' for mothers, making the situation of women who intend to have children or have had children even more difficult.

We explore the causes and logic behind these two social phenomena, sorting out the various stakeholders and the complex social relationships, in an attempt to explore the division of labour and the logic of childcare that is appropriate for China's current society. Through service design, we hope to break the stereotype of gender-based division of childcare and work responsibilities in China and reshape the social role of childcare.

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At present, China has fully opened up its three-child policy, but the low willingness of age-appropriate families for childbirth has led to a persistently low fertility rate. The family, as the smallest social unit of childcare support, bears most of the negative effects of childcare, such as the difficulty of balancing family and career, and the difficulty of gaining career advancement. And childcare providers in the family are often women. This means that mothers have to bear the burden of both career and family responsibilities, resulting in a physical, psychological and economic "maternal punishment" for mothers, and greatly reducing the willingness of women of child-bearing age to have children.


How might we turn the situation around so that all parties in society take responsibility for nurturing the next generation, thereby reducing the pressure on women to bear children and avoiding the 'motherhood penalty'?


We considered and listed all the factors relevant to our topic and then collated them from four perspectives: policy, socio-cultural, workplace and family. We found that these factors influence each other and even form a closed loop, which we call vicious circles.

We summarised these factors and used five lines to show their relationship. The black line indicates a negative effect, the red line a positive effect and 3 more. Here we can clearly see that the black line and the conflict line dominate. We split the large system diagram to get three malignant circles. These system dynamics show how and why these circles are formed.

In these dynamics, we can find that all stakeholders are dissatisfied with their current situation. The main priorities for the government include: Low birth rates, poor job market for women and the economy is suffering. For companies, these include: Increased labour costs and the impact of maternity policies. From the people's point of view, women include: limited career development and the dual pressure of work and family. For men: high financial pressure and absence from children's upbringing. For grandparents: possible stigmatisation due to conflicting views on childcare.



  • Low Birth Rate
  • Low willingness to have children
  • Poor female job market
  • Economy affected
  • The market economy has prevented the government from strictly regulating the company.


  • Restricted career progression
  • Double pressure at work and at home
  • High financial pressure
  • Absence from the child's development
  • Labour arbitration is costly(future development)
  • Guilt towards colleagues
  • Moral abduction of motherhood
  • Choosing between career and childbirth


  • Increased labour costs
  • Highly influenced by fertility policies
  • Stereotypes about female employees
  • Loss of female staff with outstanding ability
  • The company seeks staff stability
  • Large companies focus on gender ratio
  • Companies with many female employees focus on childcare cover


  • Conflicting childcare concept
  • Forced to help with childcare
  • Exacerbating the high demand for motherhood
  • Reducing father involvement
  • Exacerbates conflict between the couple


After we had concluded the insight and value for stakeholder, we had a clearer idea of the opportunities and target areas for the whole project. Based on this, we brainstormed and started to produce Ideation.

We explored possible solutions in four dimensions: policy, family, workplace and social, for example: promoting the benefits of diversity in leadership, establishing family bank accounts and paying childcare providers, office space with childcare functions and flexible working patterns. On the social side we see the possibility of building fatherhood communities and breaking down the existing norms of male identity through workshops, seminars etc.


We have finally scoped the solution on a sociocultural shift in the division of labour in the family. Thats because the internal drive of family members is much more crucial than the external support from companies and the state. Without a shift in their traditional consciousness to share parenting responsibilities with moms, it will be really difficult to eradicate the problem.

So we’re trying to reframe the traditional social attitudes and solving the problems from within the family.


“How can we reshape men's awareness of their family and parenting responsibilities through fathering communities and break down traditional gender roles in order to ease the burden on mothers?”


We have formulated our strategy, which centers around establishing a supportive community for fathers within companies. This community aims to challenge traditional gender roles and promote greater recognition of fathers' roles. Through this approach, we are confident that we can break the cycle of negative outcomes and generate positive impacts.

In the workplace, this initiative will foster an environment conducive to women's career advancement, alleviate the pressures faced by men, and enhance overall employee stability, productivity, and creativity.

On the family front, increased father involvement will alleviate the burden on mothers and grandparents in child-rearing. It will also contribute to cultivating harmonious and stable family relationships, while providing comprehensive care and education for children.

Furthermore, this transformation will have far-reaching societal benefits. The next generation, influenced by their parents' parenting patterns, will develop a mindset that embraces a neutral division of labor, thereby dismantling entrenched gender-based divisions.

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