Polish law allows mothers and fathers to share the 12-month paternal leave. Despite that, only ca. 1% of dads decide to take it (ZUS data, 2020). It leads, among others, to inequality of chances on the labour market for both genders. We intend to change it. The new EU work-life balance directive aiming at activating women professionally by engaging fathers in childrearing to a larger extent provides very important context to our efforts – it is necessary to organise in-depth social consultations of the directive and to understand why parents in Poland do not want to share parental leaves now. We do not want the directive to be just a ‘dead’ regulation, but we want it to become a real tool promoting parental and gender equality in a wider social context.
We will address the above challenges by conducting among parents and parents-to-be a qualitative research on their knowledge about parental leaves, perception of the idea of sharing them by moms and dads, obstacles that might occur, as well as activities that are necessary in this field. We will organise an Oxford debate on this topic, as well as 10 online workshops for parents and parents-to-be on legal and psychological aspects of parenthood in partnership. We will invite both supporters and critics of equal share in parental leaves, since we wish to understand arguments brought up by both sides. Based on data gathered, we will compile a report on parents’ attitudes and will complement it with the analysis of the Islandic model of sharing the parental leave (one with the longest history) that will be created by our partner, the University of Island. The report, along with information on advantages of the work-life balance directive, will be sent to the media and politicians representing all parties.