Soothing news - the Fatherhood podcast from Fairly Media is back for 2018. And we're bang on point with a miniseries on shared parenting.
It's with great pleasure we present the story of Johan Bavman, award-winning Swedish photographer and the pappa behind the lens of the Swedish Dads photoseries. Forty-five beautifully framed, naturalistic shots document friends and dads from his hometown of Malmo, each engaged in all the grit and glory of day-to-day childcare duties.
In Sweden parents have the enviable opportunity to take shared leave of some 480 days to be with their kids - any time between birth and eight years old. The government, who launched the scheme four decades ago in a bid encourage women in the workforce, support families with 80% of their wages, which are often made up to the full amount by supportive companies.
Meanwhile, here in the UK, the government announced last week has been forced to drum up a £1.5m ad campaign to drive adoption of our own version of the scheme, with only 2% of families taking the opportunity to split a year off between mum and dad. And UK parents can only claim statutory pay up to a weekly £140, available for 37 weeks out of the 50 they can take off. No wonder it ain't working, right?
But before anyone gets snooty about Swedish privilege, Johan admits it was fear of his new responsibility, made more acute by laid back coffee-slurping 'Latte Pappas' around him, which prompted him to grab his camera, connect with his peers and the parenting experience. And it seems to have helped - just listen to hear how progressive the gender balance has become in homes like Johan's.
In Johan's words: "I have understood taking these pictures, this question is so important to having a better future in coming years. I have two sons and I want to be that dad that they could come to. Show them even though I am a man I can express emotions and be crying or scared, and that is ok."
Johan's Swedish Dads exhibition has toured the world (sadly not the UK, quite yet) and the photos are available in a book which you can purchase here. So go look, listen, and takk, Johan!
Episode eleven of Fatherhood is the first in a new format of Fatherhood Stories; less interview, more soundscaping. In coming weeks the shared parenting miniseries 'Who is your Daddy, and What Does He Do?' will feature an interview from one of the few UK dads to take up the new shared scheme (well the only one we knew, anyway), plus an episode on the life of one tired but committed stay at home dad.