Difference and equality: Icelandic parents’ division of parental leave within the context of a childcare gap
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Artikler / Articles 
Iceland’s parental leave system, granting mothers and fathers equal benefits, may be interpreted as part of the development in the Nordic countries towards a dual-earner/ dual-caregiver model. Even though uptake studies show fathers’ increased participation in childcare, the use of the entitlement varies and a gendered pattern persists. This paper is based on interviews with 14 Icelandic couples who find themselves in a situation where they have to bridge a care gap between parental leave and state-subsidized childcare. While mothers tend to stretch their part of the leave on the argument that six months is too short a leave, fathers generally find three months to be long enough. The discussion revolves around the question of the relationship between difference and equality, inspired by Andrea Doucet’s (2006) concept of strategic essentialism. May we envision a policy system that takes into consideration the way people invest in gender and at the same time develop policy measures that facilitate gender equality?