|Abstract: ||In recent years, there has been an increase in fathers taking parental leave in some countries such as Canada and Sweden. The latter takes the lead, which has even earned Swedish fathers on parental leave the nickname Latte Pappas. Canada has also seen an increase in fathers taking some parental leave, with Quebec being particularly ahead of all other provinces. Despite this increase, mothers are still taking the majority parental leaves in both countries. Using feminist political economy theory, a policy analysis was carried out. This research attempts to examine if each country’s respective gender equality policies are reflected in their current parental leave systems. When studying Canada, a special consideration has been given to Quebec, given its different parental leave system from the rest of the country.
Parental leaves are linked to gender equality, given that their initial goal was to even out the cost of reproduction and encourage mothers to re-enter the workforce. However, it is believed that family policies have moved away from gender and instead, focus on the family functioning along with participation in the labour market. This heavy focus on the workforce participation reinforces that family policies, including parental leaves, are a worker’s right and are designed to increase the level of participation of all individuals, regardless of gender. Quebec, as well as the rest of Canada, and Sweden have developed at different paces with the influence of the unique social, economic and political factors influencing their gender approach to family policies. Some inequalities among diverse family structures and employment status have been identified as influencing their access to parental benefits.
This present study takes the form of a systematic policy analysis of parental leave policies and current agreed upon definitions of gender equality, finding that none of the jurisdictions have been able to fully incorporate all of their gender equality goals within their parental leave system. While all three promote an equal participation in the labour market as well as in childrearing, all struggle with how to address gender differences within the workforce that would achieve economic gender equality. Further, Sweden extends parental benefits to diverse family types while Quebec and the rest of Canada fall short on their commitment to ta fuller concept of equity in policymaking processes.|