“I am here because I believe in equality”: MenCare partners celebrate Father’s Day in Italy

In Italy – and in several other countries around the world – Father’s Day is celebrated annually on March 19. This year, MenCare partner Il Giardino dei Padri, a network of organizations working on fatherhood and caregiving in Italy, have organized a series of Father’s Day events around a common set of messages. Their campaign is called “Io ci sono” (in English, “I am here” or “I am present [as a father]”), with four core messages related to active fatherhood:

  1. Io ci sono perché tu hai bisogno di me.” – “I am here because you need me.”
  2. Io ci sono perché io ho bisogno di te.” – “I am here because I need you.”
  3. Io ci sono perché credo nell – “I am here because I believe in equality.”
  4. “Io ci sono Ma vorrei esserci di più.” – “I am here…but I wish I could spend more time with you.”

The last message refers to Italy’s limited paternity leave, which is currently only two days and will be increased to four days in 2018. These four messages have been reproduced in a series of postcards, pictured below, each with a short explanation on the back. The postcards feature photos by a photographer who recently joined the network and whose work depicts fathers who are sharing the care.

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Il Giardino dei Padri is sharing these Father’s Day messages at a variety of events across Italy, including:

  • Tuscany: In Tuscany, 157 Coop supermarkets are featuring the “Io ci sono” campaign, displaying campaign posters and distributing campaign postcards to their customers. The supermarkets will also photograph fathers shopping with their children.
  • Rome: In Rome, Il Giardino dei Padri co-organized two events for children and their fathers (and mothers) called “Festa dei Papaveri.” (“Papveri” means “poppies” in English, but it is also a play on words: “papa-veri” signifies “real dads.”) The first “Festa dei Papaveri,” on March 19, featured a musical event, photography project, and theater-forum lab in which fathers and children reversed roles. It was hosted by L’Alveare, a women-managed co-working space with childcare that also coordinates a fathers’ group, with the participation of MenCare partner Parteciparte, a member of the Il Giardino dei Padri network. The second “Festa dei Papaveri,” on March 25, will take place in a popular outdoor park in Rome and will feature a barbecue, games, clowns, a photography exhibition, and a theater-forum lab. The second event is also organized by Parteciparte in collaboration with L’
  • Mantova and Genova: Additional “Io ci sono” campaign activities are being planned in Mantova and in Genova, with details to be announced shortly.
  • Parma: In September, MenCare partner Maschile Plurale, a member of the Il Giardino dei Padri network, will organize a workshop on fatherhood at the University of Parma.

The network will use these events to spread its messages, increase participation and media coverage, and initiate local fathers’ groups. The Associazione Genitori Rainbow, which represents gay and LGBT fathers, has recently joined the network and is an integral partner in the campaign.

For more information, visit Il Giardino dei Padri’s recently launched website and Facebook page.