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Policies Promoting Active Fatherhood in Five Nordic Countries

Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies

ISBN: 978-1-78743-042-6, eISBN: 978-1-78743-041-9

ISSN: 1530-3535

Publication date: 1 June 2018


The Nordic welfare model is known in the literature for its explicit support of the equal treatment of men and women in both family and gender equality policies as well as its achievements in these policy areas. Policy arguments have to promote gender equality and act in the best interest of the child, ensuring that the child access to care from both parents as well as to early childhood education and care. However, the knowledge of how the Nordic welfare states frame and promote active fatherhood remains fragmented.

The chapter asks whether the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) have developed similar policies on fatherhood or have taken different paths. Hence, the chapter examines three main policy areas affecting fatherhood: family law, family cash benefits and paid parental leave. Comparative perspective is applied and the chapter asks how the policies frame and promote active fatherhood while also looking into how fatherhood is shaped in interaction between policies, cultures and the daily practices of fathers.

Results show that while all Nordic governments promote a dual-earner/dual-carer social democratic welfare state model emphasizing the active participation of fathers in the care of their children, variations exist in policy and practices. Care policies and entitlements to a father quota of paid parental leave are a defining factor for enhancing fathers’ role in care of their children and the findings show that Nordic fathers are making use of their quota and gradually increasing their share in taking leave for the care of young children.




We wish to thank our Nordic colleagues that took part in the book Fatherhood in the Nordic Welfare States – Comparing Policies and Practices (Policy Press, 2014) as well as REASSESS and NOS-HS for their support.


Eydal, G.B. and Rostgaard, T. (2018), "Policies Promoting Active Fatherhood in Five Nordic Countries", Musumeci, R. and Santero, A. (Ed.) Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies (Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research, Vol. 12), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 257-279.



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