Better World

Paid Paternity Leave Could Change the Co-Parenting Game

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Millions of families in the United States struggle with maintaining their work-life balance once a new baby arrives. The U.S. remains the only industrialized nation that does not require paid parental leave for all employees. Some men, both stateside and abroad, are using their public platforms to promote paid leave for fathers.

As reported by the Washington Post, Swedish photographer Johan Bävman opened his new exhibition at the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C. His portrait series, which debuted earlier this month, is called Swedish Dads and features 45 different fathers. It promotes gender equality in parenting and encourages men to use whatever parental leave benefits are offered to them.

“There are two aims to this project,” says Bävman. “The first is to describe the background to Sweden’s unique parental allowance. The second is to inspire other fathers – in Sweden, and further afield – to consider the positive benefits of such a system.”

The system in the U.S. forces most fathers to choose between work and family from the earliest months of their child’s life. Finding himself in that very situation earlier this week, Chicago-based hip hop artist Chance the Rapper pushed back his #TheBigDay World Tour just days before it kicked off in order to take paternity leave. He made the announcement on Instagram, receiving overwhelming support from his fans.

“I need to be as helpful and available as possible to my wife in these early months of raising Kensli and Marli,” he stated in his post.

Currently, a federal paid family leave bill is circulating through Congress, and drawing bi-partisan support. 

Mckenna Saady is a staff writer and digital content lead for ParentsTogether. Before working for nonprofits such as the Human Rights Campaign and United Way, Mckenna spent nearly a decade as a child care provider and Pre-K teacher. Originally from Richmond, VA, she now lives in Philadelphia and writes poetry, fiction, and children’s literature in her spare time.