We’ve heard a lot about paternity leave rights in the press recently, with calls for a fairer system to be introduced in the UK (allowing parents to share maternity/paternity leave and responsibility for dependents). As the Swedish system is usually heralded as one to aspire to I was really intrigued to read that great policies are not necessarily translating into practice.
For anyone interested in this subject you really shouldn’t miss today’s article in the Guardian suggesting that Swedish paternity rights may actually be having the unintended consequence of entrenching “traditional” family values and keeping women at home and men in the workplace.
It seems the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side after all…..
So while family-friendly policies make Sweden stand out, they do not guarantee a more progressive view of a womans place in society. And with current politics being influenced by rightwing forces, there is a trend towards returning 'traditional family values to the fore, as if preserving national pride hinged on this. Against that backdrop, there is a risk that rights once thought well protected might be reversed.