State of Nordic Fathers

image of State of Nordic Fathers

Fatherhood norms have changed considerably in the Nordic countries over the past decades. The sight of a father pushing his baby in a pram is no longer rare, and parental leave is no longer for mothers only. Yet parental leave is still not shared equally, despite parents having the right. Nordic fathers only use 10-30 percent of the total leave. State of Nordic Fathers examines why; and identifies possible avenues to increase fathers’ share of childcare and leave. 10 key findings reveal that fathers’ involvement is a key to gender equality and fathers who have taken long leave distinguish themselves in many respects from those who took none. State of Nordic Fathers is based on a survey capturing the attitudes of 7515 men and women, mostly parents, in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, on childcare work, parental leave, masculinity norms, and workplace and family relationships.




Half a century has passed since the Nordic countries started to take concrete political action to help fathers become involved in their children’s lives. In 1970, the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme gave a speech at the Woman’s National Democratic Club in Washington D.C. He said that the emancipation of women is absolutely crucial, but that it must be accompanied by the emancipation of men. While women should have the same opportunities to find fulfilling careers outside of their home, men should have better access to their families so they can bond with their children.


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