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Swedish and South African Dads

Menlyn Maine Piazza 17 Jun 2018, 9.00 AM - 22 Jun 2018, 5.00 PM

Swedish and South African Dads – a photo exhibition about gender-equitable fatherhood launches on Father’s Day 17 June 2018. Child rearing has traditionally been the preserve of women but a growing number of fathers in Sweden have begun to see the advantages of taking parental leave and developing close ties with their children early on. In South Africa, new parental leave provisions are imminent, and some men are also increasingly getting involved in the caregiving of children. This holds immense potential to relieve the burden of care on women, and to improve children’s developmental outcomes. The photo exhibition ‘Swedish and South African Dads’ explores how modern dads are stepping out of the stereotype of the distant father, and are becoming more actively involved in domestic and unpaid child care work.   LAUNCH DATE: Father’s Day, 17th June 2018 VENUE: Menlyn Maine Piazza TIME: 10:00  The exhibition of 40 images will launch on Father’s Day along with several exciting activities and entertainment for dads and their families and will run until Friday 22 June 2018.

Child rearing has traditionally been the preserve of women but a growing number of fathers in Sweden have begun to see the advantages of taking parental leave and developing close ties with their children early on. In South Africa, new parental leave provisions are imminent, and some men are also increasingly getting involved in the caregiving of children. This holds immense potential to relieve the burden of care on women, and to improve children’s developmental outcomes.

The photo exhibition ‘Swedish and South African Dads’ explores how modern dads are stepping out of the stereotype of the distant father, and are becoming more actively involved in domestic and unpaid child care work.  

LAUNCH DATE: Father’s Day, 17th June 2018

VENUE: Menlyn Maine Piazza

TIME: 10:00 

The exhibition of 40 images will launch on Father’s Day along with several exciting activities and entertainment for dads and their families and will run until Friday 22 June 2018.

Sonke Gender Justice, as partners of the exhibition, will also share findings from the recent State of the World's Fathers Report 2017, and key points from the upcoming State of South Africa's Fathers report 2018. 

Background to Swedish Dads exhibition

When Swedish photographer Johan Bävman became a father, he found there was a lack of role models that men could relate to as parents. This led him to put together a photo book, Swedish Dads, which portrays men on parental leave with their children. The book in turn led to the Swedish Dads photo exhibition, based on portraits of some of the few fathers who have chosen to stay at home with their children for at least six months. 

Sweden has one of the world’s most generous parental insurance schemes, enabling parents to stay home with their children for 480 days, paid for by the state. Ninety of these days are reserved for each parent exclusively. Despite this, only a fraction of the country’s fathers chooses to claim all their statutory days of parental leave, and only 14 per cent choose to share them equally.

The exhibition looks at what caused these dads to remain at home with their children so much longer than most fathers in the world. What has it meant to them, how has it affected their relationships both with their partners and with their children, and what expectations did they have beforehand? 

“By showing the everyday lives of fathers on parental leave, through pictures and interviews, I’ve focused on men who’ve chosen to put bonding with their children and families before their jobs and careers,” says Johan Bävman. “I’ve also sought to show the universally valid, loving aspect of parenthood, regardless of whether you’re a mother or father. With the aid of this project, I hope to inspire more men to begin reflecting on their roles as fathers and partners, which is an important step towards a more gender-balanced society. It’s good to see these stories going out into the world, where the Swedish perspective on gender equality is by no means self-evident.” The Swedish Dads photo project has had a tremendous impact and has spread across the globe. It has been issued in book form by Bävman himself, with English texts. Johan Bävman has won many awards for his pictures, including a World Press Photo prize, POY, a Sony Award, NPPA, a UNICEF Photo Award and some leading Swedish prizes.  

South African Dads soon to receive parental leave

In South Africa, the National Assembly has approved provisions to the Labour Law that will provide ten days of parental leave for fathers. The final stages of the amendments are expected to be signed off by the National Council of Provinces and the President in 2018, enabling fathers to take statutory mandated parental leave for the first time. There is already a groundswell of fathers becoming involved in increased caregiving of children, and companies who have taken the progressive step to provide paternity leave for their employees.

The photographs of South African dads depict fathers and families who have been involved in the movement for gender equal fatherhood in South Africa, from the HSRC Fatherhood Project, through the One Man Can Fatherhood Project, and to the current MenCare Fatherhood Campaign.

The event is hosted by the Embassy of Sweden, Pretoria, in partnership with Sonke Gender Justice, as a part of the MenCare Global Fatherhood campaign.

For further information and for interviews, please contact:  

Rosanela Selebi, Sweden promotion and communications, Embassy of Sweden, Pretoria

  • rosanela.pierce@gov.se
  • +27 (0)12 426 6400

Wessel van den Berg, Children’s Rights and Positive Parenting Unit Manager, Sonke Gender Justice

  • wessel@genderjustice.org.za
  • +27 (0) 82 686 7425

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Last updated 11 Jun 2018, 1.38 PM