“A lifelong bond is created in everyday moments,” writes Annika Saarikko, Finland’s Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, in a campaign designed to encourage fathers to take their paternity leave. In the end, she writes, parental leave lasts for only a brief moment in a decades-long work career. The campaign – which is being rolled out across Finnish media – depicts a burly construction worker happily pushing his baby along in a wheelbarrow.
Such a campaign may be surprising, given Finland’s enviable reputation for gender equality. Indeed, it has just been rated as the third most gender-equal country of the 144 countries analyzed in the Global Gender Gap Report 2017.
But it is this kind of proactivity – and consistent messaging about the importance of fatherhood – that has led Finland into a unique position: it is the only country in the developed world where fathers spend more time than mothers with their school-age children.
The OECD report The Pursuit of Gender Equality shows that Finnish fathers spend an average of eight minutes more a day than Finnish mothers with their school-age children. Eight minutes may not seem much. But it demonstrates that both Finnish mothers and fathers tend to work full time, and that childcare duties are shared.
The chart below shows that Finland is the only country where a square (which represents men) appears above a circle (representing women), showing the minutes of childcare duties performed each day by both sexes.
But it also shows that both mothers and fathers in Finland spend relatively few hours each day with school-age children, since both are normally working full time. And also that women still do the bulk of the childcare for pre-school children in every country, including Finland.
For more information, please see https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/12/finland-is-the-only-country-where-children-spend-more-time-with-their-fathers/