Swedish fathers choosing part-time work
Journal article, 2015
In Sweden, both parents have a legal right to reduce their working hours to 30 hours per week. Quantitative analysis of 20,000 Swedish parents with children aged between 2 and 7, however, shows mothers to be 14 times more likely to work part time than fathers. Gender imbalance in parents’ part-time employment is thus even more pronounced than in their parental leave take-up, at least in Sweden. An analysis of 14 in-depth interviews with Swedish fathers who have chosen parental part-time work reveals that part-time work represents for them a way to reconcile their separate identities as professionals and as involved fathers.
Nevertheless, this study revealed that certain difficulties of a more structural nature complicated this solution for these men; these issues included, in the first place, a strong full-time norm
prevailing in male-dominated workplaces, and traditional ideals of masculinity centred on men’s breadwinning role. Furthermore, ideals of gender equality and involved fatherhood also showed themselves as having an impact, enabling new masculine positions for part-time working fathers to emerge.