Interview with Sysarb’s Creative Director Abigail Torstenson and Chief Sales Officer Timmy Lundin about our Dads in Sweden-project.
Abigail, you have been the Creative Director on this project. What is the project about?
The project is all about Parental Leave focusing on Dads. We want to highlight the inequality in parenthood in terms of Paternity Leave where dads usually take lesser days off than moms for the reason that they don’t get enough eligible leave-days to take, and they are mostly unpaid.
How did the idea come up to do a documentary about dads?
The idea for the documentary came up from seeing a lot of dads here in Sweden pushing strollers and having fika in the middle of the day as if it is the norm. The question of “Why do all these dads have the time to do this while most dads in other countries are so buried with their work?” brought the idea of Dads in Sweden into reality.
What is the main purpose with this project?
We want to bring awareness as to the importance of having Equal Parental Rights and its impact to the life of the kids and their partner as they build a Family. We want to show that sharing parenthood equally is possible particularly when the government and the business world support it. Sweden has been such a great example to this matter, and we want to inform people about it.
In an article from Breakit it said that Sysarb wants to export Swedish parental leave to other countries. What did they mean by that?
We want to encourage other countries to provide the same rights as every parent has here in Sweden by creating this documentary. We want to show that not only Sweden has been ensuring that the parents are well-provided while they take their Parental Leave, Sweden also supports parents with their career by ensuring that they get paid 80% of their salary while on leave and that they won’t lose their job while doing so.
What do you hope to accomplish with Dads in Sweden?
We hope that the mini documentary spreads the word and create an impact worldwide. We want dads to take their rights to become a parent and that every country in the world would support both parents not just moms.
Timmy, you are one of the dads that were interviewed in the documentary. What are your thoughts about the statement in this documentary?
I’m proud to be a part of this production. Parental leave is a matter of equality, and we must lift this issue in order to make an impact to other countries.
How did the Swedish system support you when you became a dad?
We had a tough start with our baby Theo. He was born early, and my wife Elsa had to do a surgery. We had to stay in the hospital for almost a month, so we didn’t really get the start that we had expected. The Swedish system supported me and my family very well. We got financial support when we stayed at the hospital and also fantastic medical help which costed us almost nothing. That’s a huge plus when it comes to parenthood in Sweden.
What are the benefits of the Swedish Parental Leave policy?
In Sweden, we have 480 paid days of parental leave which the mother and the father can split, however we want to, but 90 days is just for me, the father, to take. Despite the obvious fact that I can spend time with my child while still getting 80% of my pay, which is amazing, the policy also creates a ground of equality between the parents. When I’m on paternity leave, I get to support my wife to pursue her career and do the things that she wants to do.