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Father's quota

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Father's quota

The father's quota (Norwegian, fedrekvote), also referred to as the "daddy quota" in English,[1][2] is a policy instrument used in Norway, Sweden and Iceland[3] which reserves a part of the parental leave period for fathers (i.e. paternity leave). If the father does not take leave, the family loses the leave period reserved for fathers. The quota, which originally comprised four weeks, was introduced by the Labour government on 1 April 1993. Since 2005, the quota has been increased several times, and currently is 14 weeks. The mother's quota is only six weeks. There have been proposals within the Labour Party for reserving one third or even one half of the parental leave period for fathers.

The father's quota is highly controversial, and the largest opposition parties, the Conservative Party and the Progress Party, have decided to abolish it, instead letting families decide for themselves how to divide the parental leave period. The quota has been criticized by several psychological and medical researchers, who argue that it is based on ideology rather than research and warn that it might have negative effects for children.[4][5][6] According to a 2010 poll for Norway's largest daily Aftenposten, 66% of Norwegians want to abolish the father's quota, while only 28% support it (7% had no opinion).[7]

Political controversy

When the father's quota was introduced in 1993, the Conservatives and the Progress Party were opposed to it, while the Labour Party was the driving force. Since 2005, the Labour Party has increased the quota from the original four weeks to 12 weeks as of 2011.

In 2010, the Conservative Party decided to work for the abolishment of the quota.[8]

Scholarly debate

Professor of Paediatrics Trond Markestad argues that it is better for small children that their mothers have the primary responsibility for caring for them. He also argues that that it can be detrimental for small children to have their mother replaced as primary caregiver, emphasizing that continuity is important to small children. Markestad believes the interests of the child are not compatible with the father's quota.[4]

Anne Bærug, head of the National Centre for Breastfeeding at Oslo University Hospital, says that:

"from a professional point of view, the mother should be secured the right to stay at home with the child for at least eight months after birth, in order to fully breastfeed for six months, and gradually introduce other food during the next two months."[5]

Internationally renowned Norwegian obstetrician Gro Nylander considers the increases of the father's quota to be absurd:

"In the midst of self-satisfaction with the father's quota, the reality is that a new father is secured twelve weeks of leave after birth, while the mother is only secured six, according to the law. How on earth did the man become the main person after birth?"[5]

Human biologist and researcher on human behavioral ecology Terje Bongard states that "women are more concerned about their children than men. That's how we are naturally selected. It has taken hundreds of thousands of years to develop the our emotional life. There is no way to turn it off with a political decision." According to Bongard, it may have harmful effects for children to take the leave period from mothers and give to fathers.[6]

Psychologist Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair believes the father's quota is indefensible from a psychological point of view, and argues that "we must at the very least ask ourselves what the consequences will be when we make a childhood environment that differs from what our species has evolved into." Ottesen Kennair believes the father's quota is "based on ideology, and only to an extremely limited extent on knowledge," arguing that it is "a social experiment, the effects of which are unknown."[6]

Literary theorist Jørgen Lorentzen and sociologist Øystein Gullvåg Holter have supported the father's quota, arguing that it makes fathers "caring and present."[9] Jørgen Lorentzen characterized the opinions of Bongard and Ottesen Kennair as "bio fascism" and "psycho nonsense," stating that they should "abdicate as researchers."[10]

A study conducted by several economicts (Jon H. Fiva et al.) found that the father's quota has not contributed to promoting gender equality. The study found that the quota led to women working less, that it did not contribute to equal pay, and that it did not appear to alter the distribution of tasks in the home.[11][12][13]

References

  1. ^ "Modern daddy: Norway's progressive policy on paternity leave". Ilo.org. 2005-07-01. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  2. ^ "'"Norway's welfare model 'helps birth rate. BBC News. 2006-03-28. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  3. ^ June Westerweld (29 October 2012): Norske fedre i særstilling i Europa (Norwegian) Aftenposten, retrieved 28 June 2013
  4. ^ a b "Valgfrihet for barnas skyld".  
  5. ^ a b c "Vil gi mor åtte måneder etter fødsel".  
  6. ^ a b c "Kvinner er mer opptatt av barna sine enn menn, sier forsker".  
  7. ^ "To av tre spurte sier nei til pappakvote".  
  8. ^ "Høyre vil fjerne fedrekvoten".  
  9. ^ Jørgen Lorentzen; Øystein Gullvåg Holter (2010-11-03). "God familiepolitikk".  
  10. ^ Tor H. Monsen. "Hvem er redd Charles Darwin?". Universitetsavisa. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  11. ^ "Fire uker pappaperm økte ikke mors arbeidsdeltakelse" (in Norwegian).  
  12. ^ "Jeg tror veien å gå er å utvide fedrekvoten ytterligere".  
  13. ^ Cools, Sara; Fiva, Jon H.; Kirkebøen, Lars Johannessen (2011). Causal effects of paternity leave on children and parents. Discussion Papers 657.  
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