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Parental leave, Care Policies and Gender Equalities in the Nordic Countries

Conference arranged by the Nordic Council of Ministers 21–22 October 2009, Reykjavik, Iceland

image of Parental leave, Care Policies and Gender Equalities in the Nordic Countries

What family forms are recognised in established Nordic and welfare policies? Which family values and parental models should be given political priority in a multi-ethnical society? Would part-time leave be ideal from a gender equality perspective? These were some of the questions raised at the conference ‘Parental Leave, Care Policies & Gender Equalities in the Nordic Countries’ in Reykjavik on 22 October 2009. The conference was arranged by the Centre of Gender Equality in Iceland on behalf of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Security during the Icelandic presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Researchers presented their preliminary results, compared the differences between the Nordic countries and discussed how we reach the goal of a gender-equality, friendly welfare state with reconciliation between personal and professional life where we serve the needs of men, women and children. The report contains notes from the conference, speeches, workshop discussions and links to PowerPoint presentations.

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Nordic mothers and fathers on leave: towards equal sharing?

The Nordic countries have long been treated as members of a common model of a welfare state. This model has been characterized as having a high level of female employment as well as high fertility, both supported by public policies for the reconciliation of paid work and family life. Nordic countries have also been regarded as forerunners of promoting active and caring fatherhood. Although these common characteristics are all true for Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, a closer look at the policies implemented in each country also reveal several differences in the possibilities as well as the outcomes of leave and care policies.

English

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