Governments, the European Commission, Council of Europe and UN Committee for gender equality and human rights has today the opportunity to secure equal rights for everyone in society.
The society and our children will benefit from this and it is the future wellfare model for every society. However, we have to address a new challenge; gender equality within gender equality.
Council of Europe
United Nations Human Rights Watch
National Governments has legal obligations in accordance with especially the United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child articles 2, 3 and 7 and the European Human Rights Convention articles 6, 8, 14 and 17.
It is a human right for children to know and be cared for by their parents. It is a human right to receive respect for family life. It is a human right to be protected against discrimination. It is a human right to have a fair trial of civil rights within reasonable time. This apply for all citizens.
Any Government has today the opportunity to secure equal rights for women and men, boys and girls in society and the society will benefit from this. It is the future welfare model for any society.
However, we have to address the gender equality issue for both women mainly in the work life, but also for men and children in family life to keep a positive balance and respect in society, secure healthy children and basic human rights.
We today face a new challenge which is gender equality in gender equality. Everything is not about women – or men. Gender Equality and basic Human Rights in society apply for everyone
Nordic society shared parenting is today the norm in daily life. However, children
and parents are still for historical reasons – like in many other European and
International countries - living in a shared parenting world with single parenting
In 2017 we created 'The World's first gender equality catalog for children and fathers' with 12 themes and 348 items. Checking the catalog now in 2020 more items have been added than solved for most countries.
This despite clear documentation of human rights violations by National Governments in todays shared parenting society.
The formula is simple
This clearly document a Governmental responsibility
for change in Family law and the culture in many national Governments. This has also be stated by the Council of Europe
in the resolution 2079 on Gender Equality and the Role of fathers.
We therefore need to express our regrets over this disappointing development in general. In many societies there are widespread efforts to promote gender equality and human rights, but the rights of children and fathers have gone the opposite way. Governments and authorities should rectify this without delay.
Should our positive expectations in this regard not hold true, we do have to recommend that children and fathers in shared parenting go to the human rights court with lawsuits, against Governments and Ministers. We are today seeing the first of such human rights cases for ordinary citizens being started in the Nordic Countries.
In our opinion current supreme court and human rights judgments especially in the Nordic countries today shows a clear responsiveness and understanding that the balance in due regard between the child, mother and father must be maintained without habitual prejudice.
In the World’s first Gender Equality Catalog for Children and Fathers, that soon will be published in English we have looked into themes like:
Here we shall give a few examples of the violations we experience for all children and fathers and parents as a whole accordance with the human rights conventions.
All children and their fathers in society experience that there is public information, they do not receive in connection with daily life, paternity leave, health research, surveys, schools and institutions or even children cases. They are most often not aware of this or the information they do not receive, before it is too late. It can be about ordinary things or can be very serious.
In connection with the public information with free digitalized mail there is a simple explanation to why the mail often is not sent to both parents. Most or probably all countries cannot make a list of all children in relation to legal custody and information rights. This is because key data about fathers is often missing in the central registration and the mailing is therefore not automated for both parents.
This means great costs for society in manual workflows in a shared parenting society at schools, municipalities, hospitals and for the state. In addition to the loss of knowledge, human errors this also will cause a decline in citizen satisfaction and respect for gender equality.
If all local
authorities, vendors and IT systems have to provide their own data instead of
retrieving data easily about the father and mother somewhere central, there
will be many human mistakes. Shared information for parents will not happen in
many situations due to the lack of time and resources.
In addition, exclusion rules can be regarded as sexist against fathers, since it is public employees with often outdated education and cultural understanding, with a significant over-representation of women, that assess if a father, for example, should have digital information about the child.
In relation to parental leave, there has still been no
extension of the leave period for fathers and children to e.g. 50/50
arrangements or 3 months, not even the adopted by the EU agreement for a
minimum of 2 months.
Only in Sweden and Iceland we have seen positive changes in the law and welfare benefits with 50/50 percent arrangements. This is indeed very positive and a benefit for the children, gender equality and society.
and yes, fathers are able to look after the children and the fathers that has 3-even 12-month paternity leave today loves it. They have the same positive and stress full experiences as we traditionally know it from the mother. This is one of the best Nordic experiences we have today in shared parenting and gender equality
It is by no means correct for other Governments to claim that children and fathers have a free choice. This can be documented in studies with fathers on leave, which documents that legal rights, family economics and information are key problems unless the paternity leave is earmarked for the children and fathers.
In most Governmental law there is also no legal rights for children and fathers in two home families making everything even more impossible and frustrating for the good and responsible fathers It means that in practice, the father and child is left without rights, since they may experience marriage/partnership dissolution, if they demand their rights.
Politicians and the principal authorities are often not aware that the parental leave legislation that provides children and fathers a possible right, yields to the family law for between for children and fathers.
Children and fathers can often be given an opportunity, agreement, and right to paternity leave which cannot be practiced, because the Family law does not deal with leave for two home families that is also almost the norm today in the Nordic countries. The Family law is based on traditional family forms causing major problems for children and fathers in society with clear violation of human rights obligations.
In addition, some countries respect single mums or two women living together, but not single men and two men that decide a child. This is also a clear violation although we always most respect the right of the child to know and be cared for by their parents.
The experiences in the other Nordic countries demonstrates, however, that paternity leave works and is a major success when used.
Residential and non-residential parent
The most severe and discriminatory gender problem in the Nordic society today is the residential and non-residential legal discrimination, which was introduced when joint custody became the norm for fathers. The concept has in practice put the joint custody out of power in many situations.
One must of course not divide such a large part of the population (33%-50% of all children and their fathers), as is the case today, that live in two-home families with different rights as a basic assumption.
Millions of children, parents, and grandparents are
affected and stand with different legal rights and experience discrimination on
a daily basis in society. It can have very serious consequences for the
children for example the children’s mental health later in life.
The Nordic research is clear today that children living with shared parenting and 50/50 arrangements later in life has the best mental health. This is not only due to great parents, but also more quality time with the parents, more social resources with grandparents and other family members as well as a better and more clear identity with the father and mother is our experiences from daily life today.
It is in many Nordic countries except for some situations in Sweden the residential and non-residential legal concept that decide public welfare benefits for children. This for example social grants, free court proceedings and for that matter au-pair arrangements, only awarded to the residential parent and not based on actual needs or equal opportunities.
It is not uncommon that a non-residential parent for example in 50/50 parenting time arrangements earns the least today and may become unemployed or ill. Here the same rules do not apply for welfare benefits to citizens based on the residential and non-residential legal concept, against all common sense and fairness as well as being a clear violation of basic human rights in the modern society. It is serious discrimination of citizens, which creates social vulnerability for children and fathers in society.
For many years the seriousness has been pointed out
for changing Governments in many Nordic, European and International countries.
We experience that it is relatively simple to create modern
family law and practice that will secure a preventive effect, and complies with
fundamental human right. It is all about understanding the issue, willingness and accountability – and gender
equality in gender equality – by most Governments, ministers, officials and
The crucial thing is to ensure a modern family law, which is based on eqal rights for children, mother and fathers. as the starting point and to respect family life and gender equality for everyone.
We have created three principles and 10 basic rules, which can be used by any Governments to ensure the future family law. Mentioned in the World first gender equality catalog for children and fathers that soon will be available in and English version 2020.
We recommend that special Family Courts with children experts and education in shared parenting is created and that legislation with equal time for children with both parents is introduced by law as a starting point. This has already been done in states in the US called the best law of the year.
In the Nordic countries families live in daily life with shared parenting like no other place on earth, but honestly politicians, the Nordic council as well as the European Commission, where are the shared parenting law.
We cannot allow discrimination in general or gender discrimination in particular, against any citizens in family law, such as the case is today. Shared parenting is in the best interest of the child. It is the future welfare model that can be used by any society for success.
Jesper Lohse, Chairman
World Parents Organization
Registered socio-economic organization