They used to work in the financial services industry in London, but left their career and became fulltime mothers in Norway. Not because they need to look after house and husband, but in order to spend time with the children.
The modern man is a dad with a capital D, and he doesn’t mind cleaning the house every once in a while. But it is not his responsibility that mum has to work part time in order to make family life work.
The Norwegian birth rate is higher than in the rest of Europe not only because they put their faith in the welfare state. They can’t imagine a good life without children.
In order to manage a full time job it is necessary for women to have short distances between home, work, kindergarten and the supermarket.
Women in Southern Europe wish they could live under a Nordic-style welfare state so they could improve their lives as women. But the financial crisis has made their dreams less realistic than ever. This is according to John Eriksen, a researcher at the Norwegian Social Research Institute and the co-editor of a new book on women’s lives in Europe.
Malaysian IT employees are required to work until 5:30 pm every day, while their Norwegian colleagues often work a flexi-time schedule. So why is it the Norwegians who complain about a time crunch?
Notwithstanding the welfare state, employed mothers in Scandinavia experience just as much conflict between work and family life as mothers in Southern Europe, but the Scandinavian mothers are happier.
Raising small children without stress, good health and a sense of fairness in the marriage – this is the experience of spouses in the 1970s who shared the responsibility of staying at home with the children while working part-time. Sociologist Margunn Bjørnholt has interviewed these couples 30 years later.
The old measures cannot take us all the way. The key to economic gender equality is the father, claims economist Hilde Bojer.