Sweden ’50 years’ from parental equality: report

Sweden '50 years' from parental equality: report
Sweden is fifty years from achieving equality among parents if change continues at the current pace, a new report from Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees (TCO) shows.

With regards to staying home from work to take care of sick children the development is actually towards fewer dads taking their share of the responsibility.

TCO’s father index is not pleasing reading for those hopeful of a more even share of the burdens of parenthood.

While the index has increased ever year of the past ten, it has done so at a pace that would require a further 50 years before genuine equality is achieved and mums and dads share responsibility for the family and the home.

“When the index shows 100 then mums and dads share equally, but according to the latest measurements the figure shows 37.8,” according to TCO’s Lena Orpana to Svenska Dagbladet (SvD).

The index is a measure of the number of dads taking parental leave and the number of days of parental leave they take.

Swedish dads currently account for only 21.5 percent of all the parental days taken.

By the time a child reaches 8-years-old (when the right to parental leave expires) every tenth father has not taken out a single day’s leave, SvD writes.

But despite the dismal figures the development is at least heading in the right direction. Two years ago TCO predicted that it would take 211 years to achieve equality, that figure has now been cut to 50.

There is one statistic that TCO finds cause for concern, that is to say the division of responsibility for caring for sick children.

Over the past two years the proportion of dads staying at home from work to care for their poorly offspring has in fact declined – only 35.6 percent of all the days claimed in 2008 were by men, SvD writes.

Swedish mothers currently have a statutory right to 60 days parental leave. Fathers are entitled to take the same amount of leave. A further 360 days can be split between the parents as they see fit.

In addition Swedish parents are entitled to up to 60 so-called VAB days per annum enabling them to be at home from work to care for sick children.