SupportingBritish Dads to #Sharethejoy

International 'Think Tank' Business Leaders Event & Exhibition: Advancing Parental Leave Equality for Fathers


Featuring: Swedish & Aussie Dads Photography Exhibition by Johan Bävman

London - 13th June 2018

Free event

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Pioneering Gender Equality through Shared Parental Leave

It is estimated that only 2-8% of UK fathers take shared parental leave

As part of a global advocacy initiative to increase men’s parental leave participation, this not for profit Gender Equality Event & Photography Exhibition is designed to start a conversation between workplaces, men and their families to break down stereotypes of men caring for children and to improve the gender equality outcomes at work and at home.  

"We hope the think tank event and photographic exhibition will send a powerful visual message to fathers

to normalise men taking parental leave and to lean in to flexible work knowing they are 

supported by their community and organisation." 

Emma Walsh, CEO Parents At Work

Business Leaders 'Think Tank' Event: Advancing Parental Leave Participation by UK Dads
Official Speakers

Torbjörn Sohlström 

Emma Walsh

Ambassador of Sweden to the United Kingdom

Sweden was the first country in the world to replace maternity leave with parental leave, in 1974. More than 40 years later, fathers take roughly 25 per cent of the total number of days available to the couple. If fathers’ paternity leave continues to increase at the same pace it has kept so far during the 21st century, the use of parental leave will not be gender equal until 2040.

CEO & Founder, Parents At Work & Parental Leave Equality Advocate. 

Parents At Work is social enterprise founded 2007 in Australia to advocate for working families. It's a global membership-based organisation, working together in partnership with progressive employers to create family friendly workplaces.  

Margaret O'Brien

Director, Thomas Coram Research Unit, University College London.

Margaret's key research is in the field of fathers, work and family life, with a policy and parenting support focus. She seeks to understand how fathers and mothers can work and care together for the welfare of children and gender equality.

She is a representative on the International Network on Parental Leave Policy and Research and has been a member of UN experts group preparing for International Year of the Family 2014 where she contributed to Men in Families and Family Policy in a Changing World Report.

Sarah Jackson OBE

CEO, Working Families UK 

Sarah is the Chief Executive of Working Families and has led work-life balance campaigning and culture change for over twenty years. Sarah is an acknowledged expert and has worked across the political spectrum to push for positive change including the right to request flexible working, maternity and paternity leave and fathers’ rights at work. In 2007 Sarah was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Quality of Life Issues

Johan Bavman

Photographer,  Swedish Dads

Internationally acclaimed and awarded Photographer Johan Bävman examines why these fathers have chosen to stay home with their children, what the experience has given them, and how their relationship with both their partners and their children has changed as a result. 

Dr Katherine Twamley

Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Sciences, University College London

Katherine is a sociologist, with expertise in gender, families and relationships. She is currently undertaking an in-depth study into Shared Parental Leave, including a survey of expectant parents’ views and intentions around leave, and detailed longitudinal research comparing the experiences of parent-couples who are and are not sharing parental leave, from pregnancy to 13 months after the birth of their child. The study elucidates how men and women negotiate gendered work and family roles within the UK policy context. The research is funded by The Leverhulme Trust.


 Sharing Best Practice - Business Speakers

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Siri Nomme

Laurie Benson

Fiona Pargeter

Head of Diversity & Inclusion, EMEA

Head of HR - UK

EMEA Head of Diversity & Inclusion

Norton Rose Fulbright LLP



About this event

This International Think Tank Business Leaders Discussion Event & Dads photographic exhibition is designed to inspire UK workplaces to collaborate on how they can encourage more fathers to participate in shared parental leave to improve gender equality outcomes for all. For more information read the press release. 

Learn, discuss and share insights on:

  • The benefits of advancing men’s participation in shared parental leave and flexible work; recognising the positive impact it has on women, men, children, society and the broader economy.
  • Key research findings on the challenges that hold men back from participating in shared parental leave and flexible work
  • Advancing shared care participation by men and women and reduce prejudice and discrimination and promote inclusiveness of those with caring commitments 
  • Improving employer-supported parental leave policies and how they can increase participation of UK fathers taking shared parental leave.

Who should attend: Business leaders and Equal Opportunity Advocates including HR, Diversity & Inclusion Specialists & Practitioners

When: 13th June 2018 – in celebration of Father’s Day in the United Kingdom (17th June). 

Where: University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP 

Time: 9:00am-12.00pm round table presentation and discussion forum. 

Networking and viewing of the photographic exhibition of Swedish Dads.

Refreshments provided.

This event is free to attend.  To enrol, please register below.

Parents At Work -  

Tel: +61 404 093 082

About the Swedish Dads Photography Exhibition

'Swedish Dads' is a photo exhibition based on portraits of fathers who choose to stay home with their babies for at least six months. Photographer Johan Bävman examines why these fathers have chosen to stay home with their children, what the experience has given them, and how their relationship with both their partners and their children has changed as a result. 

In September 2017, Parents At Work commissioned Johan Bävman to curate a series of photographs to exhibit Australian fathers who have taken parental leave as part of an advocacy initiative to promote the need to support more men to participate in sharing the caring load and take primary parental leave. 

The Aussie' Dads photographic collection is a not-for-profit initiative - touring internationally alongside Swedish Dads - is solely designed to start a conversation, in our workplaces and community to improve and widen the opportunities for men to equally participate in parental leave and engage in flexible work by challenging gender stereotypes and stigma around sharing the caring load in Australia.

The exhibition aims to show the effects of gender equality in parenting on both individuals and society.'

Johan Bävman photographer

Parental Leave in the UK benchmarked


The United Kingdom introduced Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in 2015 designed to encourage both women and men to share parental leave. 

SPL allows mothers to transfer part of their maternity leave to the father or partner. However, men's take up of this leave remains stubbornly low.  

It is estimated that only between 2- 8% of UK fathers take Shared Parental Leave. 

Internationally, paid parental leave—for use by both parents—is available in 23 OECD countries, but mothers take the majority of it. 

Fathers are more likely to take leave that is a unique entitlement (sometimes called a ‘daddy quota) and if highly remunerated. 

In 2018, the UK Government Equalities Office launched a new campaign #Sharethejoy aiming to encourage fathers to access Shared Parental Leave provisions in an effort to improve gender equalities outcomes for women and men, at home and at work.   

Read more:

Call for 12 weeks of paternity leave to address gender pay gap

Fathers Parental Leave - How Britain compares to the world 

Can fathers afford to take parental leave?

Swedish Dads photography exhibition is brought to the United Kingdom by

About the Embassy of Sweden

About Parents At Work

The Embassy represents and advances Swedish policies, interests and values in political and economic relations, development cooperation, trade and investment promotion and in cultural and information matters. It provides consular services to Swedish nationals and migration services to non-nationals.

Parents At Work is a global education provider of working parent programs including preparing for parental leave and returning to work transition programs. We collaborate with employers, policy makers and industry professionals to create and deliver best practice gender balanced parental leave programs that support and advocate for working families.

Parents At Work is a social enterprise and global membership based organisation, working together in partnership with progressive employers to create family friendly workplaces. 

About the Swedish Institute

The Swedish Institute (SI) promotes the interest and confidence in Sweden around the world. SI seeks to establish cooperation and lasting relations with other countries through strategic communication and exchange in different fields. Our work with Sweden’s image abroad and our activities in international development cooperation go hand in hand. The overarching goal is to create mutual relationships with other countries around the world. Our support of Swedish language instruction at foreign universities also fits into this common agenda.

About University College London

UCL is one of the world's leading universities, founded in London to open up education to all on equal terms. Today our outstanding research and innovative teaching drive entrepreneurial solutions to the world's major problems. 

Event Exhibition Partners

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Find out more

To attend or find out more about the exhibition

please send us an email

Media Enquiries

Johan Bavman will be available for interviews before and throughout his stay in UK. 

For press and media enquiries please contact the Parents At Work media team: 

Emma - and  +61 404 093 082