”There is no men or women business “- alumni of fathers’ school tries to break stereotypes
Childcare, cooking and washing dishes are activities that are unfortunately considered to be primarily women’s work in Georgia. Most men cannot even imagine sharing the responsibility of household chores with women. There are exceptions, but considering the established stereotypes, men find it difficult to admit this publicly or tell their friends.
Dato Tsomaya could not imagine how dramatically his life would change. He and his wife used to share household chores, yet he felt he was careless and did not give proper thought to these responsibilities.
Now Dato and Enek have a six-month-old daughter, Esma, and so their time is spent taking care of her together, while also making time for their own activities. The EU-supported Fathers’ School project has helped them to cope with new challenges. According to the project implementers, Fathers’ School promotes changes that aims to help people handle harmful social norms and stereotypes while building a more-harmonious society.
Dato says: “We used to mostly search for information on the internet. I didn’t know if there was a platform where I could go to discuss specific issues with professionals. Then I learned about the Fathers’ School – a project that explains how stereotypes are often wrong and there is no such thing as woman’s and man’s work.
“I learned so many new things,” Dato says, adding that it was crucial for him to meet people with similar concerns and to share ideas and experiences with them. The whole process was so interesting that he travelled from Baghdadi to Kutaisi twice a week to take part.
“We shared our experiences, such as our relationships with our fathers – and discussed experiences that we would or wouldn’t like to relive with our own children,” Dato says.
Enek appreciates Dato’s participation in the household chores. She is a winemaker and her profession takes up a lot of time, so she’s unable to take care of her baby alone. “The vineyard can’t wait – you just cannot put off your work. That’s why Dato’s help is so important. I have to admit that he’s always been special in that regard, always liked to play with kids. It’s quite an unusual thing for Georgian men to be actively involved in parenting. In that sense, maybe the Fathers’ School helped us see other men who were in a similar situation,” she says.
Dato fully agrees, and explains that he believes both parents should be equally involved in parenting: “Now I try to share the knowledge and experience I gained in the Fathers’ School with my friends, who’ve just became parents,” Dato says, recommending that all men should help their wives with household chores just to make their lives much better and easier.