Country Report: Sweden

Country report from Sweden on shared parenting and gender equality. Presented by Matts Hertsberg, VBU at the New Nordic 2020 event arranged by the World Parents Organization.

For video presentation see here or the full New Nordic 2020 event here.

Basic information
• Matts Hertsberg, Chairman VBU
• Population: 10 million
• Number of children:  2 million
• Parental leave total: 480 Days best-in-world
• Parental leave for fathers: 240 days (parents can transfer all but 90 days to the other parent
• Parental leave taken by fathers: 30 % 

The Positive
There is generous paternity leave with high utilization of paternity leave. Sweden is probably best-in-world. There is social acceptance of paternity leave. Fathers caring for sick children is on the increase and also here is Sweden probably best-in- world. On gender equality for women Sweden is no. 4 globally and drives equality in all family issues. Fathers spending time with children drives equality in other family issues and more than 40% of the children living in two home families in Sweden are living with equal parenting time. 

Situation report on reforms

• The 2006 CHANGE IN FAMILY LAW was contraproductive with a huge increase in number of cases going to court and increase in single custody. 

• The 2006 CHANGE UNDER REVIEW SINCE 2014 although it is recognized that the change in 2006 encourages conflict rather than cooperation new legislation is stuck in government.

• UN Convention on the rights of the child has been incorporated into Swedish law on january 1, 2020. It is uncertain what it means and how it is to be implemented. Everybody uses it for individual purposes as a clear concern.

Key Challenges
Resistance from interest groups and lobbyist, ultrafeminists and conservatives in toxic agreement. The family services is an undereducated black box staffed by women. Economic drivers favour single custody and single residency when they should encourage gender equality and shared parenting


How do you rate the gender equality in your country on shared parenting in relation to the Council of Europe resolution 2079 and the World's first Gender Equality Catalog or Children and Fathers (1: not good, 5 very good)

  1. Biological parents - level 2
    Fathers recognized automatically only if the parents are married

  2. Public information - level 3
    Generally very good but a lot goes to one parent only

  3. Paternity leave - level 5
    The best in the world

  4. Residential status - level 2
    Double residency not on the table

  5. Parenting time - level 4
    Fathers spend a lot of time with their children and increasing

  6. Welfare benefits - level 2
    Favours custodial and residency parent

  7. Public children cases - level 1
    Lack of cooperation between authorities, low enforcement of court rulings

  8. International children cases - level 2
    Reluctance to act

  9. Family violence - level 1
    Violence against men is not recognized, psycological violence recoginzed in words only

  10. State funding and statistics - level 3
    Statistics usually excellent but there are gaps

Level 5: Full gender equality
Level 4: Reforms being implemented
Level 3: Reforms voted in parliament
Level 2: Reforms being prepared in parliament
Level 1: Reforms has not started