In most countries around the world maternity leave is far, far longer than paternity leave. In Hong Kong, mother's are entitled to 12 times longer leave than father's. For Singaporean citizens, maternity leave is 8 times longer than paternity leave with similar patterns across the rest of the world.
We all shouted loud in our support of #balanceforbetter earlier this year, but what message does current paternity leave policy send? To me, it says women stay home and raise children while men go to work to provide for their families. In a lot of cases, that is exactly the dynamic the family wants. However such a disparity in leave lengths simply because of gender makes me question, why isn't it the family's choice how they bond with their child and support each other during such a life changing time? It seems old-fashioned to be polite, sexist to be truthful.
Sweden, now that's where you want to have your kids. With one of the most generous parental leave offerings in the progressive world, there is no focus on maternity or paternity leave. They simply have generous parental leave which both the mother and father must share. The percentage of time they each take is up to them but it sends one clear message - everyone, regardless of gender, enjoys the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life.
Gender equality is one of the cornerstones of Swedish society. The aim of Sweden’s gender equality policies is to ensure that everyone enjoys the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all areas of life.