Since 2010, Dove Men+Care has been committed to expanding men’s opportunities to care by addressing outdated stereotypes around masculinity. In 2018, the brand began a transition from simply celebrating the caring role of men to driving action around an issue that inhibits men’s ability to care—paternity leave.
With the help of experts and nonprofit organizations, the brand aims to impact the lives of all men by building a community of Dadvocates—comprised of dads and allies—to convince the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive paid family leave policy, offering dads the time they need to care from the very beginning.
Only one in five American men have access to any paid paternity leave, limiting fathers’ bonding time with their children, the ability to close the gender gap, and the opportunity for men to care for their families.
We interviewed hundreds of dads to understand social issues that mattered to them, finding that a lack of time to spend with their newborn children hindered (in their view) their ability to be the best father they wanted to be. As a champion for care, we sought to combat this issue and help bring care to the start of these relationships at a key moment in time.
STRATEGY AND EXECUTION
Our goal is to make federally mandated paid family leave a reality for all dads and parents. To achieve this, we structured this ongoing campaign to maximize our ability to reach dads and their allies, so they can join us to change the hearts and minds of Congress.
We knew it would be important to give these Dadvocates a platform to help fight for federal policy change, but that there was also a debilitating and immediate need for paid paternity leave for thousands of dads. We developed a program that would allow us to offer dads both to support them fully.
Dove Men+Care launched the Pledge for Paternity Leave to encourage everyone to join us on this mission. The Pledge allowed us to generate social proof, further validating the need for federal policy change. The most passionate signatories have come together in our private Facebook Group “Advocates for Paternity Leave” where we collectively discuss important actions that Dadvocates can take on their own.
We also partnered with well-known paternity leave advocate and internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian. He spoke with media, and policymakers, about his own experience taking paternity leave, and we created a video asset to encourage others to sign the Pledge that Dove Men+Care promoted with paid media.
Because policy change could not support the urgent need of the most vulnerable dads in the US, we also introduced the Paternity Leave Fund, a $1 million commitment to support real dads who did not have access to paid family leave.
The Pledge has driven quality earned coverage on The Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, FOX News, The New York Times, and more—resulting in over 2,700 earned placements and 2.8 billion impressions.
We have already garnered over 40,000 Pledge signatures, funded 75 dads who otherwise had no meaningful time off with their new children and have inspired nearly 1,500 dads and allies to advocate for the issue through our Advocates for Paternity Leave Facebook group.
During our Dads Day of Action we met with 30 key legislators in Washington from both political parties to prioritize paternity leave on their agendas. Following those meetings, there have been three new bills that have been drafted, endorsed or introduced by members of the U.S. Congress we met with that day, and now all federal workers have access to paid family leave.