“In Sweden, term “housewife” doesn't exist anymore”: Niklas LÖFGREN and Tiina BRUNO talk about paid parental leave and gender equality

18.04.2021 (Caucasian Journal). Is it good for the babies to stay at home with fathers? What are the benefits of gender equality? How generous are benefits paid to Swedish parents by the government? How are private companies motivated to contribute?

Within the framework of Caucasian Journal’s Best Nordic and Baltic Practice Program, our guests today are Niklas LÖFGREN, Spokesperson for family economics at Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) and Tiina BRUNO, a senior advisor and lecturer in methods for increasing gender equality, social sustainability and inclusion in companies and societies, CEO of the consultancy firm Föräldrasmart Sverige and founder of the concept Parentsmart Employers. 

 ქართულად:  The Georgian text version is here

Alexander KAFFKA, editor-in-chief of Caucasian Journal:  
Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce a parental leave giving both parents the same possibilities of staying at home with their child. I believe this happened in 1974, correct? In a few years you will mark 50th anniversary of this reform, which seems revolutionary even by the today’s standards. How effectively did it perform over the years?

Niklas LOFGREN: The first years after the 1974 reform was introduced men in Sweden were reluctant to use parental benefit even though they could. The right was equal but you could also give away that right to the other parent, and most fathers wanted to do just that. The first year 99,5% of all days were paid out to women and only 0,5% were paid out to men. The development towards an equal usage went slowly, and after 20 years it still was only a 90/10 split. That’s why the government introduced 30 days that you had to use yourself as a parent. It was “use them or lose them” 30 days. This was a small kick in the butt for the reform which increased the speed towards a more equal usage. From one year to another, more children got more fathers staying home with parental benefit, and also for a longer period of time.