Swedish Dads

Sweden has one of the most generous parental leave systems in the world.

The current system enables parents to stay at home with their child for a total of 480 days, while receiving an allowance from the state. Ninety of these days are allotted to each parent.

The purpose of this allocation is to promote gender equality. In order to encourage men and women to share their parental leave more equally, a so-called ‘equality bonus’ has also been introduced. The more days divided equally between parents, the higher the bonus.

In spite of this generous allowance and unique bonus, only a fraction of Sweden’s fathers use all their days of parental leave. Only fourteen per cent of parents choose to share the days equally.


This photo essay is based on portraits of dads who belong to that small percentage who choose to stay at home with their child for at least six months.

With this project, I want to find out why these men have chosen to stay at home so much longer than the majority of Swedish dads. What has it done for them, how have their relationships with their partner and their child changed, and what expectations did they have before taking parental leave?

There are two aims to this project. The first is to describe the background to Sweden’s unique parental allowance. The second is to inspire other fathers – in Sweden, and further afield – to consider the positive benefits of such a system.

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