Father Involvement in Childrearing Activities in the Context of Arsi Oromo Culture: Implications for Intervention
The major purpose of this study is to examine the level and dimensions of Arsi Oromo fathers’ involvement in childrearing activities and to identify the underlying factors that affect their involvement. A mixed methods research design was employed in the study. Questionnaire, focus group discussion (FGD) and observation were used to collect data from a sample of 260 (221 fathers for the questionnaire, 7 households for observation, and 32 discussants for FGDs) Arsi Oromo parents. Purposive, simple random and stratified random sampling techniques were employed for selecting samples. One-sample t-test, independent samples t-test and one-way ANOVA were used to analyze the quantitative data, while thematic technique was employed to analyze the qualitative data. The study revealed several important findings. First, Arsi fathers were far less involved in the dimension of direct interaction and physical care activities with their children. Second, the majority of Arsi fathers perceived their fathering roles as bread-winning, resolving disputes within the lineage and community, and representing the family in public gatherings as well as ritual ceremonies. Third, there was no substantial variation between rural and urban fathers’ involvement in childrearing activities. Fourth, statistically significant variation was obtained in the involvement of Arsi Oromo fathers by the educational level and occupational status. Fifth, gender role attitude and orientation, cultural and societal expectations, traditional beliefs, traditionally defined sex-segregated-roles, fathers’ perceived workloads in outdoor activities, patriarchal family structure, and traditional gender identity were perceived as factors affecting Arsi Oromo father’s level of involvement in childrearing activities. The results imply that Arsi Oromo fathers play insignificant roles in the direct child care activities, and mothers bear the responsibilities of socializing and child caring.
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