#27 Gilles, what does a committed father need?
With Gilles Crettenand from Swiss national MenCare programme in French-speaking Switzerland
Note: This interview is held in French.
Research has proven without a doubt that having an engaged, nurturing father can provide huge benefits for children’s physical, social and psychological well-being. But the cultural frameworks and systemic support for men to be able to fully embrace this role is largely missing in Switzerland today.
Gilles Crettenand is the head of MenCare Suisse Romande, a national program promoting fathers’ involvement in everyday childcare and men’s participation in the care sector in general.
In previous episodes, we’ve talked about how men being more present with their families is key for gender equality inside and outside the workplace. (Listen to episode 16 with Dario Christiano and episode 25 with Reto Kessler in particular.)
Today’s discussion with Gilles goes deeper into the often invisible struggles men can face on their journey to becoming the fathers and partners they want to be.
We talk about the ways the system fails men from an early age and the consequences this has for all of us. Gilles also shares his experiences of leading transformative workshops on fatherhood, and offers a thoughtful perspective on how we can support men in becoming more aware caregivers of themselves and their families.
If the father’s needs are well met, the needs of the family, of the mother and of the child are well met, too.
What you will learn
- When men are socialized not to express their feelings or be vulnerable, it becomes difficult to connect on a deeper level with themselves and others, including their partners and children. Education plays a major role in reproducing this pattern, and increasing one’s capacity for empathy is key to changing it.
- The hospital environment and the attitude of birth professionals can play a major role in reinforcing (or undermining) the legitimacy of men as capable caregivers. When fathers are involved from the start, the whole family is strengthened.
- Although their issues can be different from those of women, men also suffer under a patriarchal system. At the same time, self-aware, actively engaged fathers can become role models for social change that benefits everyone.
- Create dedicated spaces where new and experienced fathers can safely talk about their experiences, questions and concerns.
- Start training programs for developing soft skills like empathy and non-violent communication. Make sure male employees can see the benefit of participating.
- Get involved with initiatives that help couples consciously plan and prepare for parenthood. Make this support available to employees who would benefit from it.
Find Gilles online
LinkedIn: Gilles Crettenand
Gilles Crettenand, 56, married with three children, is the coordinator of the Swiss national MenCare programme in French-speaking Switzerland (www.maenner.ch/fr), run by männer.ch (http://fr.maenner.ch).
Trained as an economist, his rich and varied professional career has led him to hold positions at all levels of the hierarchy in marketing (retail), HR and financial management (academic), project management (health promotion) and the management of parastatal institutions in various regions of Switzerland.
In charge of the development of MenCare in French-speaking Switzerland since 2016, he leads various concrete actions addressed to companies, to professionals working in perinatal care and early childhood and to the population in – to professionals working in perinatal care and early childhood.
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