This is dependent on the political desire to prioritize maternity leave and the resources allocated. Mean level of paid work for mothers and fathers, respectively, for the three time points. In general, research has confirmed that work is gendered and that work task specialisation is based on gender-normative values (see Hagqvist, 2016). I started this site while living in Sweden to build the conversations and community we've had with loved ones around the world,

Statistics on Breastfeeding 2015 (published 2017). Sweden offers 480 days of parental leave (for both parents). The data was collected at the end of the recession; hence, if the results were affected then the effect of the recession on the time use data should be small. In contrast, I think that in the US, when a woman has to return to work within weeks of having a baby—whether she wants to or not—a woman disorients from her role as a mother, disorients from the new configuration of the family, and disorients from her role as a valued member of society. Was it enough? In the time use data this step is identifiable: between time points 2 and 3 the gender time gap in paid, unpaid, and care work narrowed among Basque mothers and fathers. American society just doesn't quite know what to do with mothers, be they working mothers or stay-at-home mothers: whether to praise or berate them for their choices. Monitoring businesses to ensure they comply with the maternity leave legislation for their employees is crucial. As with paid work, the gender time gap in unpaid work seems to narrow over time, though mainly due to mothers’ reduction in time.

Leave can be used until a child turns 8 years old (Statistics Sweden, 2007). Thus, we will structurally analyse policy change in a broader welfare and social context using examples of two polarised countries with regard to gender equality – Sweden and Spain, represented by the Basque Country – to study behavioural changes in individuals. of parental leave for fathers in an effort to increase gender equality and After the introduction of leave reserved for each parent, Swedish parental leave policies now meet all five of the practices that Ray et al. In addition, as argued by Brighouse and Olin Wright (2008), division of household work is "a significant, systematic determinant of broader patterns of continuing gender inequality" (pp. The lack of policies with the aim of facilitating the combination of work and family for women can also lead to a postponed transition to parenthood and reduced fertility rate within a country (Bettio et al., 2013). To withhold the neutrality of  wording parental leave, we rather refer to parental leave reserved to each parent. What is, then, the result of the lack of gender-equal parental leave policies? reducing the gender time gap in work among mothers and fathers but this model She's not worried about pumping and bottle feeding, about fitting into her work wardrobe within a small number of weeks, about getting the baby immediately onto an optimum sleep schedule so that she can be rested for work. Dividing work becomes an act of “doing gender” (West & Zimmerman, 1987), and work task specialisation is thus based on our ideas of femininity and masculinity. While we know this is great for babies (assuming a loving, supportive, and supported mother), I think we tend to undervalue how important this time is for the mother. Family-friendly policies in these countries are scarce; social expectations maintain the traditional gendered division of work, with men as breadwinners and women as caretakers, and there is a lack of governmental support (Haas, 2003). Those who do are often granted only about twelve weeks (or less), meaning the baby has to be left at daycare at the vulnerable age of three months. An unpublished manuscript by one of the authors (Hagqvist, 2016) supports the fact that societies are moving towards a more gender equal division of housework.

work for pregnant employees. Similar patterns can be observed when examining data on unpaid work for Basque mothers and fathers. Reforms, Financing, and Budget Consolidation in the Budget Bill for 2015 (2015). For the Basque Country, time point 1 was 1992–1993, 2 was 2002–2003 and 3 was 2008; for Sweden, time point 1 was 1990–1991, 2 was 2000–2001 and 3 was 2010–2011 (Gershuny et al., 2012). Women were reported at even higher numbers (2). The time differences for Basque fathers were marginal throughout the studied period (Figure 1). The differences between Basque fathers and mothers indicate a considerable change between time points 2 and 3, narrowing the gender time gap for paid work. Furthermore, paid leave signals a norm that care work is important and valued in society, which could affect norms of gender equality within a country (Brighouse & Olin Wright, 2008). The length and structure of parental leave policies in a country seems important for gendered time use and division of work. Rather than the family focusing inward on its new formation and figuring out what that looks like and how it functions, the comings and goings and interactions of the family are determined largely by the logistics of getting everyone clean, fed, and to and from the appropriate daytime locations at the appropriate times. Since time point 2, however, Basque mothers and fathers have made considerable strides towards equal time use. respondents believe that paid leave should be split evenly between the mother Thus, as a first step the absolute change is studied, initially using a descriptive analysis that presents the mean daily time use for fathers and mothers in Sweden and the Basque Country for all three time points. Economic recessions could affect gender-segregated work differences (Escobedo & Wall, 2015). Paid maternity leave is more likely to increase the rate and duration of breastfeeding, reducing the risk of malnutrition and combating disease during the first months with the mother’s natural antibodies (12,14).