This paper considers how shared parental leave could achieve its aim of encouraging fathers to provide care. I will argue that achieving this ambition is dependent upon the legislation continuing to be available only to those performing a parenting role, when two parents are providing childcare. Despite the problems with the two parent family model, it should be retained temporarily because it has unique potential to encourage men to care, as highlighted by Swedish legislation. This is the most effective way to challenge gender inequality. Shared parental leave should only be made available to a wider category of carers after men have been given a realistic chance to care. Widening access earlier risks reinforcing women’s association with caring work.
- fathers; caring; paid work; reconciliation legislation; sexual family.