Equality begins at home

They get it in Sweden, it appears.

“I always thought if we made it easier for women to work, families would eventually choose a more equal division of parental leave by themselves,” said [former deputy PM Bengt] Westerberg. “But I gradually became convinced that there wasn’t all that much choice.”

Sweden, he said, faced a vicious circle. Women continued to take parental leave not just for tradition’s sake but because their pay was often lower, thus perpetuating pay differences. Companies, meanwhile, made clear to men that staying home with baby was not compatible with a career.

“Society is a mirror of the family,” Mr. Westerberg said. “The only way to achieve equality in society is to achieve equality in the home. Getting fathers to share the parental leave is an essential part of that.”

Sholto Byrnes please note. The family isn’t some wholly private realm that has no effect on the broader society, for good or ill. Family law is not something that can be shrugged off as a minor matter that is not worth worrying about.

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