This article is published in collaboration with Quartz.
Sweden really wants dads to take paternity leave.
Sweden became the first country in the world to replace maternity leave with parental leave in 1974, with time off that either parent could take. While the onus was no longer on women to take time off work for childcare, the new law didn’t dramatically change gender roles with childcare. Mothers were still taking the vast majority of leave and the few men who did take it were nicknamed “velvet dads.”
To change this, the government introduced the so-called “daddy quota” in 1995. Fathers were given 30 days leave, which only they could use, to encourage them to stay at home. Failure to take the leave resulted in the loss of that month’s paid leave.
The introduction of the quota had a massive impact; the proportion of fathers taking any leave increased from 44% to 77% after it was initially introduced. The law had the biggest impact on fathers on lower incomes and those born abroad, who increased their use of parental leave the most under the new take-it-or-leave-it formulation.
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Author: Aamna Mohdin is a reporter for Quartz in London.
Image: Jason Howe, 48, and Adrian Perez (L), hold their one-year-old twin daughters Clara (R) and Olivia. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson.