We often wonder how would the world look if women had more political power, and Finland lives that dream right now. The five parties in the coalition government in Finland are lead by women, and they’re making one very important change right now: Equal paid leave for both parents in the family.
Finland’s government is led by the 34-year-old Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and she announced the new policy recently. The policy will grant seven months of paid leave to each parent, which adds up to a total of 14 months of paid leave for both parents. The pregnant parent can also receive one month of pregnancy allowance before the parental leave starts, and the new policy will come into effect in 2021. The policy is designed to be gender-neutral, and it will essentially eliminate the gender-based allowances that currently grant only four months of paid leave to mothers, and two months to fathers.
To add to this, parents will also be able to transfer up to 69 days from their own quota to the other parent, and a single parent will have access to the allowance of both parents.
According to the government, the increased leave will cost Finland about $110 million. The most generous leave policy is in Sweden, though, with 240 days offered per parents, of which many can be transferred to the other parent.
Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, the Minister of Health and Social Affairs in Finland said that the goal of this “radical reform” is to improve gender equality in the country and to boost the declining birth rate.
Finland is seeing a drop in the number of babies born in the past nine years, as only 45,597 babies were born last year, which is the lowest number since a famine struck in 1868.