Monday, June 14, 2010
Nearly all of my friends had the following news story as
their status message, along with something like “I wish I lived in Sweden….” Anecdotally, demand for real paternity leave
From The New York
From trendy central Stockholm
to this village in the rugged forest south of the Arctic
Circle, 85 percent of Swedish fathers take parental leave. Those
who don’t face questions from family, friends and colleagues. As other
countries still tinker with maternity leave and women’s rights, Sweden
may be a glimpse of the future.
In this land
of Viking lore, men are
at the heart of the gender-equality debate. The ponytailed center-right finance
minister calls himself a feminist, ads for cleaning products rarely feature
women as homemakers, and preschools vet books for gender stereotypes in animal
characters. For nearly four decades, governments of all political hues have
legislated to give women equal rights at work — and men equal rights at home.
Swedish mothers still take more time off with
children — almost four times as much. And some who thought they wanted their
men to help raise baby now find themselves coveting more time at home.
But laws reserving at least two months of the
generously paid, 13-month parental leave exclusively for fathers — a quota that
could well double after the September election — have set off profound social
Read more here.