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The politics of parental leave policiesChildren, parenting, gender and the labour market$
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Sheila Kamerman and Peter Moss

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420671

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420671.001.0001

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Norway: the making of the father's quota

Norway: the making of the father's quota

(p.191) Twelve Norway: the making of the father's quota
The politics of parental leave policies

Berit Brandth

Elin Kvande

Policy Press

Norway was the first country to reserve part of paid parental leave for fathers, making it a leader in parental leave policies and fathers' rights. From the 1970s, gender-neutral parental leave has been available for fathers, but few had taken up this opportunity to share parental leave with mothers. In 1993, the fathers' quota gave fathers an exclusive right to four weeks of parental leave which could not be transferred to the mother. From its very start, the fathers' quota proved to be a success, judging by its high take-up rate. Several other countries have since followed Norway's lead, however the Norwegian case is interesting because Norway had long been regarded as the most conservative of the Nordic countries with respect to employment for women and ECEC services for children. This chapter explores how the construction of statutory parental leave rights for fathers can be explained in the Norwegian context by looking at the debates before their introduction. The point of departure is the characteristics of the Norwegian welfare state, which strongly influenced family policies. The chapter also considers how the political parties in Norway managed to achieve political consensus on this issue. It also considers the influence of the men's movement, particularly the Committee on Men's Role that was active in the late 1980s.

Keywords:   Norway, paid parental leave, fathers, parental leave policies, fathers' rights, gender-neutral parental leave, fathers' quota, women

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