Can fathers' leave take-up dismantle gendered parental responsibilities? Evidence from Finland
Keywords:parental leave, fatherhood, gendered parenting, gender equality, division of labour, survey
Objective: This article reports on the associations of fathers' leave take-up with parents' care responsibilities when their child is around four years old.
Background: In families with small children women continue to do more parental care work than men. Several studies, however, have suggested that fathers who take up parental leave also take more responsibility for childcare.
Method: We applied logistic regression analysis to Finnish survey data collected in 2019 from the mothers and fathers of four-year-old children to find out whether father’s take-up and length of leave is related to fathers taking equal or more responsibility for different dimensions of parental responsibilities, including hands-on care, interacting with the child, community responsibility and mental labour.
Results: Our descriptive analysis showed that in families with two working parents, parents shared some hands-on care tasks more equally if the father had taken more than three weeks of leave. When only the father was in paid employment, his take-up of leave was associated with taking the child to or from daycare.
Conclusion: We conclude that while father's individual leave has unfulfilled potential in dismantling gendered parental care responsibilities, its effects might differ across different dimensions of parental responsibilities.
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