Parenting and Work. A comparative study between Sweden and Macedonia.
Abstract: The existing parenting protection legislation affects the labour market by setting standards for working parents. This to make sure they have the right to leave in order to take care of their children. These laws regulate not only the time frame and the days allowed for leave, but also contribute to the general view on gender roles and views on which parent is the primary one. The conservative perception of the mother as the primary care taker is tangibly present which consequently leads to the view of males as the traditional workers. Subsequently gaps in women’s career paths are being occurred in societies where the mothers usually refrain time from paid labour in order to take care of the common children. At the same time, room is being given for the fathers to have a family life and keep their career intact, since the burden of taking care of their children is not expected nor required from them. Also, by perceiving gender in this way, leads to discrimination of women in the labour market. With the aim to eliminate this, directives from the EU has been developed, aiming at gained equality and giving working mothers further rights and by these create uniformity within the EU. The lack of existing legislation which aims at incorporate the males to take part of the parental leave are clearly absent. In both Sweden and Macedonia, which are being compared in this thesis, the case is so. Apart from this, the laws differ substantially in the two countries. This comparison is giving a glimpse of how these two European countries are interpreting the same directives regarding parenting and work. It proves that women do take most of the parental leave which consequently lets the working fathers choose whether or not they want to participate in the child care, a choice that is not given to the working mothers. It can be argued that these laws are not achieving their main aim in gaining an equal labour market and may be seen as insufficient. However, they seem to be in constant change which may lead to a more equal labour market and hence society in the future.
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