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“Paternity leave is a great concept in theory, but it will never work here. We are just not ready. This is not Sweden…”

I get that a lot.

How Sweden, with its progressive paternity leave policies and comparably more gender equal society can have dads step up and take a bigger part of the parenting burden.

And yes, I am Swedish (but I live in Singapore and I do not have access to the Swedish paternity leave benefits).

And yes, I have started this blog, in part, to help spread the idea of paternity leave to fathers in countries where it is not so common. (In Sweden fathers get 60 days of paternity leave (and soon 90), in Singapore they get 5+5 days …)

Singapore is actually progressive compared to some other Asian countries. Indonesia has 2 days’ paid when wife gives birth, Taiwan has 5 days, Malaysia does not have a law about paternity leave and so on.

Yes, things seem to change.

And a good way to see that is to look at advertising.

Advertising is both a mirror of the state of a society and a vehicle to move it.

Companies will not advertise a message that a society is not ready for.

At the same time companies are trying to communicate a message of change (that involves the customer changing to their product.)

It is a fragile balance of being just infront of where a society mentally is right now.

(think about how ads for homosexuals in the USA has become more and more common as the US society has become more and more accepting of same-sex relationships.)

And that is why I find it so promising when I start to see so many advertisements where companies are pushing the idea of fathers stepping up and playing a more active role in parenting.

Look, for example, at these two ads from Thailand (a country famous for creating the most heart warming and emotional ads.)

(And good to know in this context: Thailand a few year back introduced 15 days of paternity leave for state officials.)

May we see more and more ads like this.

Ads changing societies attitudes so that societies changing attitudes can change the ads we see.


Watch the ads here:


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Fredrik Haren

A blog about the magic of fatherhood and paternity leave. Written by Fredrik Haren, professional speaker and author who is now on semi-paternity leave with his three children.

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