Renegotiating roles as fathers workers: Exploring the experiences of migrant refugee men in Australia

Daile Lynn Rung, Elizabeth Adamson

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    Migrants represent a significant and growing proportion of Australia’s population. While there has been a surge of academic literature about the experiences of migrant women, and families more generally, less attention has been given to migrant men and their roles as fathers. As fathers have a significant impact upon their children and families’ wellbeing, it is important to understand the factors influencing their wellbeing and caregiving practices within their family units. To better understand the factors contributing to migrant men’s fathering experiences and wellbeing, the authors undertook semi-structured, in-depth interviews and one focus group discussion with 10 migrant and refugee fathers living in Darwin, Australia. We define migrant fathers as those who were born outside of Australia and had children. This exploratory study aims to explore the challenges the fathers faced securing stable employment, providing caregiving, and renegotiating their identities as fathers and workers in a new country and culture. The findings demonstrate that demographic characteristics (such as education and language), structural constraints (such as access to childcare and flexible work), and cultural expectations (such as being the breadwinner and provider) defined the way many of the fathers experienced and rationalised their role as workers and fathers. These findings confirm the importance of employment in promoting and sustaining migrant and refugee men’s wellbeing as they resettle with their families. We offer a preliminary sketch for policy makers and service providers to support migrant and refugee men’s roles and identities as fathers and workers in Australia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e1-e14
    Number of pages14
    JournalInternational Journal of Men's Social and Community Health
    Issue numberSP2
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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