Founding fatherhood. Part I | The world from PRX

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Childcare is not full-time work, but it has only recently been recognized by governments and labor laws as worthy of being paid work. The provision of paid leave for new parents is a relatively new right in countries that have it, having only gained after working mothers and fathers, respectively, were invested in their children’s early upbringing. While state perception and rights are largely binary, that’s a discussion for another time.

“Making parental leave available to fathers. In Political Actors and the New Social Rights, 1965–2016, Cassandra Engeman focuses specifically on how different political currents draw on and shape the new fathers’ leave.

“In 1974, Sweden became the first country to introduce paid parental leave for fathers, and the involvement of fathers as caregivers under family policy continues today,” Engemann notes, although his study initially follows the idea that they have long had a political influence. importance and legislative action. as in 1965

It is important for Engeman’s study to track two related but different types of parental leave: transferable leave, which extends to fathers but can be transferred to mothers, and non-transferable paid parental leave, which cannot be transferred to another parent and must be taken by the father. .

According to Engeman, “Each type of leave sends different signals about fathers’ caregiving roles. While transferable paid parental leave recognizes the need for fathers to take time off to care for new children, non-transferable paid parental leave rights emphasize fathers’ gender-equal responsibilities for their children.” She explains that while the transferable leave entitlement allows for more family “choice” in how care is shared, in practice it is mothers who end up taking most of this leave. In contrast, individual rights have been shown to effectively increase paternity leave use.

To build his study, Engeman looked at the first adoption of parental leave for fathers in 22 wealthy democracies from 1965 to 2016. An important part of the research was the composition of governments that adopted policies, which showed which ideological coalitions were ready and able to move parental leave from proposal to reality. This composition of government is the most important to understand the role of denominational (or religious) right parties in controlling the adoption of leave, although it comes as a more general push from the left.

“[W]Legislators have a significant, positive relationship only with transferable, paid parental leave, and leftist party actors, and in the limited models, the institutional power of unions, have a significant, positive relationship only with non-transferable paid parental leave. Therefore, the results suggest that fathers’ access to transferable and nontransferable paid leave may be different policy designs,” Engeman writes.

“Confessional [right and religious] Parties may emphasize family policy issues, they are not expected to support paternity leave because such provisions challenge traditional gender family roles,” Engeman continues. But the increased presence of religious right-wing parties in government may mean the government is willing to act and continue family leave policies even if they are pursued by the left, allowing religious right parties to negotiate what form such leave should take.

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