"Fathers want to take a more active role today"


Strengthening fathers in their role as fathers: That's the idea behind the new fathers' network at Covestro. More than sixty employees have now joined the employee network since it was founded about a year ago. Why is it so important to look at the work-life balance from a father's perspective? Who benefits from this? And how have the demands on working fathers actually changed? On the occasion of Father's Day, we talked about this with Fabienne Mainz, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Covestro in Germany, and the two founding members Murat Demirtas and Jürgen Schumacher. Three exciting perspectives. Read the interview here. 

Written by: Patrick Herrmann

Murat, what did your father do well? 

Murat: My father was one of the first guest workers to enter the Federal Republic of Germany. He was always a great role model for me and always gave education a high priority. That ensured that integration was not an issue for us.

Is there also something you would criticize about him?

Murat: Back then, work had a very high social status. Accordingly, many other nice things were foregone. More time with the family would have been nicer for everyone. But today, thank goodness, the social consensus is different.

Fabienne, from your perspective as Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Covestro: How has the view of men on the subject of family and career changed? 

Fabienne: For the younger generation, fathers are becoming increasingly important as role models for balancing family and career. 48 percent of fathers-to-be want parental leave to be shared equally between the two partners after the birth of their children. This shows that fathers today want to take on a much more active role than in the past.  

Were these also the reasons for you to found the fathers' network?

Murat: Yes, definitely. Personally, the time with my two daughters is much more important to me than it was to fathers in general 20-30 years ago. And that's a good thing. It's now part of a balanced relationship between family and career. Those were our motives for starting it. 

What is the significance of the fathers' network for Covestro?

Fabienne: Like any of our networks, the Fathers' Network helps us understand the diverse perspectives of our workforce even better. They are also an important driver of our corporate culture, as we can share ideas on topics together.

In many areas of society, men are more privileged than women. Why is the fathers' network nevertheless an important institution?

Fabienne: While it is evident in numerous studies that men have a desire for more compatibility between family and career, in practice this desire is often not realized. Fears and prejudices play an important role here. This is where we need to start, and this is exactly what the network is for. If men take on a greater share of the work at home, this also pays dividends in terms of equal opportunities for women. 

Who benefits from the fathers' network? Men or women? 

Jürgen: Both women and men benefit from the Fathers' Network. For example, in the network we share helpful content for families, such as webinar announcements or info materials for all interested Covestro employees. In addition, we establish contact with the other Covestro networks to inspire each other.

Murat: Everyone involved benefits from the fathers' network. It advances gender equality because fathers can play a greater role in raising children. With these impulses, the network promotes family life. It also makes Covestro more attractive as an employer, because employees know that the question "family or career?" doesn't arise here. Both are possible. That motivates employees.

Isn't that a utopia?

Jürgen: The role of the father has changed over the generations, because men now also want equality that offers advantages for them, especially more time with the family and the children. Today I know this wish is no longer a utopia, but already a reality, it just needs to be exemplified again and again by role models.

For you personally: What do you understand by equality?

Jürgen: When I talk to my two daughters about equality, I tell them it's about equal rights for everyone. To me, equality means that all people and all genders should have the same rights and opportunities for a good life. I want my daughters to grow up in such a world and be allowed to go their way. 

Murat: Regardless of any characteristics of a fellow human being, equal treatment at all levels of a society such as law, work and morality.

Fabienne: To me, equality means that every person has the same opportunities to develop according to their own wishes, regardless of personal characteristics such as gender.  

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