Families, Relationships and Societies
An international journal of research and debate

Perceptions of gender equality and engaged fatherhood among young fathers: parenthood and the welfare state in Sweden and the UK

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  • 1 Linnaeus University, , Sweden
  • | 2 University of Lincoln, , UK
  • | 3 University of Gothenburg, , Sweden
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This article presents analyses from an international empirical study of young fatherhood in Sweden and the UK to interrogate how welfare contexts and family policies shape young fathers’ views of parenthood. Our analyses demonstrate that despite differences in constructions of young fatherhood, whereby young parenthood is problematised in UK family policy, more so than in Sweden, young fathers in both countries express an encouraging commitment to contemporary cultural imperatives for engaged fatherhood. However, differences in welfare and parental leave systems have a clear influence on the extent to which the young men in the respective countries fulfil their parental commitments and act as local agents of change in the wider social project of gender equality. We argue that while policy processes and discourses in support of young parenthood and gender equality are currently treated as disparate concerns, their articulations with one another may instead be seen as complementary and symbiotic.

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  • 1 Linnaeus University, , Sweden
  • | 2 University of Lincoln, , UK
  • | 3 University of Gothenburg, , Sweden

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