Dec 1

Past Event

Mama Says: A National Survey of Mothers’ Attitudes on Fathering



  • Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

    The survey shows that mothers and fathers who live apart need a substantial amount of help in forging healthy father-child relationships and in acquiring good parenting skills, Whitehead says.

  • Roland C. Warren

    Warren says in many ways, the role of the father has been devalued by the media with a message that has changed, over time, from "father knows best" to "father knows nothing."

  • Norval Glenn

    Couples that are not married can successfully raise a family, Glenn says, but unwed, cohabiting parents tend to have more fragile relationships than their married counterparts do.


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According to a new report by the National Fatherhood Initiative, mothers report that stable, well-functioning marriages are extremely important to good fathering, yet over half of mothers say fathers are replaceable by single mothers and nearly two-thirds of mothers say that fathers are replaceable by other men. The report also reveals the important role played by work/family balance in shaping modern fatherhood.

On December 1, the National Fatherhood Initiative released “Mama Says: A National Survey of Mothers’ Attitudes on Fathering” at an event sponsored by the Center on Children and Families at Brookings. The event featured the report’s authors, Barbara Dafoe Whitehead of Rutgers University and Norval Glenn of the University of Texas. A panel of practitioners, state officials, and scholars offered their views on these and other findings of the survey.

Speakers and panelists also took questions from the audience.

Event Agenda

  • Welcome

  • Overview

    • Barbara Dafoe Whitehead

      Director, Center for Thrift and Generosity

      Institute for American Values

  • Panel

    • Moderator: Roland C. Warren


      National Fatherhood Initiative

    • Kathryn Edin

      Professor of Public Policy and Management

      Harvard University

    • Norval Glenn

      Professor of Sociology

      University of Texas

    • Nisa Muhammad

      Executive Director

      Wedded Bliss Foundation

    • J. Tracy Robinson

      Executive Director

      Ohio Commission on Fatherhood

    • Sheri Steisel

      Federal Affairs Counsel

      National Conference of State Legislatures


December 1, 2009

9:00 AM - 10:45 AM EST

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105