Nordic talks on parental leave at the UN

07.03.19 | News
dad on parental leave

Share the care!

Maj Kelk
Share the Care! It’s only when women and men share family responsibilities equally that we can achieve economic gender equality. This is the message of the Nordic ministers for gender equality at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, CSW63, which starts this week. Iceland’s Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir will be initiating joint Nordic efforts to reach the UN Agenda 2030’s goal on gender equality.

This year, the CSW63 examines how countries can incorporate gender equality into their social protection infrastructures - a precondition for ensuring women and men’s equal rights.

Smart investments

The Nordic countries can evidence the results of decades of investment in childcare, care for the elderly, and parental leave. It is, among other things, greater participation of women in the labor market, more men taking parental leave that anywhere else in the world, and a substantial boost to the growth in GDP. - Generous shared parental leave and universal childcare are investments that can help to ensure a better future for all of us, says Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, the country which has topped the Global Gender Gap Index for ten consecutive years.

Childcare reduces the income gap

Although the Nordic Region has advanced infrastructure for gender equality, even Nordic moms are affected by “the motherhood penalty” - women’s economic loss through becoming a parent.  Recent research shows that the provision of childcare from an early age is an effective way of reducing the income gap between women and men. The right to paid parental leave is also important, but especially if this is shared equally between parents.

Gender equality starts at home

Closing the gender pay gap between parents requires an equal distribution of responsibility for children, unpaid housework, and family responsibility, as indicated by research.

This will be the topic of the Nordic ministers for gender equality’s debate at the UN on 12 March, which will be livestreamed by UN Web TV. 

With particular emphasis on men and fathers, the ministers will debate which political instruments are required to achieve full gender equality.

On March 13, a Nordic panel of experts will discuss solutions to the pension gap between men and women.

The Nordic governments are also preparing to give a joint statement at this year’s CSW to mark their commitment to and active support of the gender equality goal in the UN Agenda 2030.