“It Was Necessary at the Beginning to Make This Whole Revolution”. Men's Attitudes to Daddy Quota and Gender Neutral Parental Leaves in Poland and Sweden

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Katarzyna SUWADA, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Torun, Poland
The aim of this paper is to show the attitudes of Polish and Swedish fathers to daddy quotas and gender-neutral parental leaves. The comparisons of two distinctively different societies, which characterize with different family policy systems and gender equality policies, allow to show how the particular mechanisms of family policies influence people’s thinking about parenthood and gender parental roles. The Polish family policy is mother-oriented and only recently started to recognize men as its recipients. Men’s role in the family is still mainly seen in terms of breadwinning. Whereas in Sweden there is a long tradition of gender neutral parental leave and there are special mechanisms which role is to enhance men into a greater engagement in care work. I argue that such institutional contexts have a great impact on how Polish and Swedish men perceive their parental roles and what attitudes they have to traditional parental roles and division of domestic work. I claim that the family policy instruments play an important role in changing men’s thinking about fatherhood (and motherhood) and can accelerate the decline of patriarchal fatherhood. The lack of such instruments only sustain the traditional gender order.

In this paper I concentrate on men’s attitudes to daddy quotas in parental leaves. These attitudes are strictly connected to family policy systems and prevailing models of fatherhood and motherhood. My analysis is based on 52 in-depth interviews conducted with fathers in Poland and Sweden in 2012 and 2013. All interviewed men were from middle class, heterosexual lived with their children and shared a common household with their partners. Such homogenous group help to conduct the comparative analysis of fatherhood experiences in Poland and Sweden.