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Finland, where most women work full time, always ranks among the top in the global gender gap report of World Economic Forum. Family structures have become more diverse in recent years, with increasing number of single parents, couples of remarriage and couples of common law marriage. Though Finland also experiences rapid aging of the society, the adjusted birth rate is still around 1.7. We can think of many reasons for the higher birth rate and social security system designed to details and established engagement of fathers in childcare are important contributors.
In Finland there are various childcare benefits and childcare allowance systems in addition to a baby package. A mother usually takes a year of maternity leave and is entitled to stay home to take care of her child until a child becomes three years old and then to return to work. Parental leave can be taken either by a mother or a father. This leave has also an objective to promote participation of fathers in childcare. There is no such word as “ikumen”, a man participating in childcare in Finland. It is not an exaggeration to say that people in Finland take it for granted that a father engages in childcare. A father is not helping a mother in childcare but is an active participant. It is also encouraged that parents cooperate as much as possible to fulfill their responsibility in childcare as previous partners even if they have got divorced or separated.

1 Photo: Kimmo Brandt
2 Photo: Jukka Rapo

参考資料 References
・フィンランド外務省 冊子 『フィンランドの育児パッケージ』
・KELA brochure “Home and Family” 2015
・KELA web site - http://www.kela.fi/web/en (accessed 18/5/11)