In Finland, a coalition of five political parties began their terms in office this past December. All five parties are led by women of whom four are under 35 years old, and one of their main priorities is gender equality. In a testament to this goal, Finland’s government has announced plans to give new fathers the same amount of paid time off work as new mothers, nearly doubling paternity leave.
Paid paternity leave will be extended to nearly seven months, in line with maternity leave. Around half can be given to the other parent. Pregnant women are also entitled to a month of pregnancy leave before the expected date of birth. Minister of Health and Social Affairs Aino-Kaisa Pekonen said the aim of the “radical reform” was both to improve gender equality and to boost a declining birth rate.
It also shows that Finland values the importance of having both partners around when raising a child, rather than leaving one partner to raise the child alone during the day. Now if only the US would take note of Finland’s admirable example.