Since appointing a new women-led government and female Prime Minister in 2019, Finland keeps making news with new, progressive governmental reforms. Now, the country is planning to give dads the same paid parental leave as moms.
This doubles the current standard for dads in the country, giving nearly seven months to each partner. Around half can be given to the other parent, if they choose. Pregnant women are also entitled to a month of pregnancy leave before the expected date of birth.
Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said the aim of the “radical reform” was both to improve gender equality and to boost a declining birth rate.
“This enables better equality between parents and diversity among families,” she said.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos last month, Prime Minister Sanna Marin called for states and companies to do more to ensure women were treated fairly, saying gender equality “doesn’t happen by itself”.
Pekonen also said a more equal distribution of domestic workload between parents has been proven to lower the risk of divorce.
“Over a longer term, it also improves equality in working life and in wages by directing fathers to use a larger proportion of parental leaves than before,” she said
At the beginning of the year, South Africa instituted new legislation giving both partners 10 days paid parental leave. This change aimed to create a space for fathers to be more involved in the early bonding with their child and expose them to child care sooner.