top of page

Mrs. Valerie Berthelsen

Mrs. Valerie Berthelsen

Valerie Berthelsen serves as the People, Learning & Leadership Manager at AVK in Dubai, overseeing comprehensive employee development initiatives throughout the Middle East and India. Currently, Valerie is pursuing an MSc Business Psychology with Coaching degree at Heriot Watt University in Dubai, focusing her research on the dynamics of cultural and gender roles within the workplace.

Dads, diapers & deadlines: How working fathers are balancing work and family life in the Middle East

The Digital Age has redefined the relationship between our work and family lives as remote working has provided some employees with increased flexibility to manage their personal lives. The expectations and demands on fathers in this changing landscape is a particularly relevant topic as the globalized nature of the Middle East's work environment is predominately male, providing a rich opportunity to explore cross-cultural beliefs about the social roles of working parents, work life balance and gender roles.

Despite men's increased contribution to caregiving and housework in recent years, many men still face the traditional demands in their work life such as long working hours, inflexible work arrangements, and cultural expectations of men as breadwinners and primary earners (Premeaux et al., 2007, Campbell et al., 2022). As Cunningham-Parmeter (2019) argues, for women to achieve workplace equality, men must be able to contribute to domestic responsibilities without facing repercussions at work.

The aim of this study is to explore the views and expectations of fathers in the Middle East and how they are navigating the changes surrounding balancing work and family life. By focusing on men's experiences, we can create family-friendly policies that align organizational support for working fathers with the new societal expectations of men's caregiving responsibilities and promote gender equality for all (Emslie & Hunt, 2009).


Campbell, N. P., Märtsin, M., & Rodwell, D. (2022). Reading men’s experiences of balancing work and family life through the lens of semiotic cultural approach to life-course transitions. Culture and Psychology, 28(3), 342–360.

Cunningham-Parmeter, K. (2019). Men at Work, Fathers at Home: Uncovering the Masculine Face of Caregiver Discrimination. Columbia Journal of Gender and Law, 24(3), 253.

Emslie, C., & Hunt, K. (2009). ‘Live to Work’ or ‘Work to Live’? A Qualitative Study of Gender and Work-life Balance among Men and Women in Mid-life. Gender, Work and Organization, 16(1), 151–172.

Premeaux, S. F., Adkins, C. L., & Mossholder, K. W. (2007). Balancing work and family: a field study of multi-dimensional, multi-role work-family conflict. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 28(6), 705–727.

bottom of page