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Young fathers on maternity leave: expert opinion

Young fathers on maternity leave: expert opinion
In modern society, it is believed that sitting at home with a child is an exclusively female occupation. Today, young fathers are rarely seen with a stroller in a park or at a child’s matinee in kindergarten. Mom often leads the child to kindergarten, to the library and to various activities of the child.

Many researchers and public figures around the world say that fathers do not take enough part in raising children, especially at an early age. And there are many reasons for this.

American scientists have conducted a series of studies, which identified several factors that can help fathers take an active part in caring for a small child.


Studies have shown that the role of the father in raising a child and caring for him is most affected by two factors: gender stereotypes and the financial situation of young families. It is the financial factor that affects the fact that in the vast majority of cases, mothers go on maternity leave, and fathers remain at work. The right state policy in this area would be a way out of this situation, namely, attractive social guarantees for parents who take parental leave. In addition, a certain quota of maternity leave should be created specifically for fathers.

In some Scandinavian countries (for example, Sweden, Norway and Iceland) the so-called “father quota” is already in place. For example, in Sweden, fathers caring for children are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave with salary. Moreover, the mother of the child cannot use this quota instead of the father. In Norway, such a quota is 98 days. In addition, fathers of children under eight years old enjoy privileges from the state.

Gender expectations

Mothers are considered to be central figures in raising children and caring for them. This is reflected in everything: in books about education, in advertising, instructions for children’s goods, etc. This leads to social stereotypes: society begins to take such a state of things for granted.

You can object: the gender expectations of the child from the parents are especially strong at an early age, when there is a strong relationship between the mother and the child. However, society also greatly influences the formation of such stereotypes. The slightest changes in society can positively affect the culture of parenting and equalize the roles of mothers and fathers in this process.

Work culture

The desire of a young father to spend, say, six months, on parental leave in our culture can be regarded as the absence of career ambitions. A stereotype of a male earner has taken root in our society. Hence the widespread belief that if a man takes parental leave, it means that he was not able to realize his professional activities.

Employers also contribute to maintaining this stereotype. Formally, they fulfill their obligations to the parent, but you can forget about the career growth of the employee in this company.

Therefore, even if paternal quotas were officially approved in our country, young fathers would still have the impression that maternity leave interferes with career growth.

Research on the role of fathers in raising a child continues to this day. Their results help young fathers to take an equal position in caring for young children. These results should be used to change public opinion and social norms.

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