Kiwi Dads photographic exhibition coming to Wellington

Kiwi Dads, a photographic exhibition and campaign to promote equal access to paid parental leave, will be on display in the foyer of the Asteron Centre, 55 Featherston Street, Wellington from 24-28 February 2020.

Inspired by the iconic Swedish Dads photographic exhibition, Kiwi Dads is a local campaign to normalise fatherhood in the workplace and encourage conversations between workplaces, men and their families to break down outdated gender stereotypes.

The exhibition, created by Global Women in partnership with Parents at Work and the Embassy of Sweden, features 13 fathers from across New Zealand at home with their children. The Kiwi Dads photos are by Auckland-based photographer, Sarah Weber. The Ministry for Women is facilitating the exhibition in Wellington.

Some fathers took extended parental leave while their partner returned to work, others work flexibly to accommodate their children’s schedules, sick days and their partner’s travel needs, and some left their jobs to develop stronger bonds with their children.

Approximately 300 New Zealand men (around 1 percent) took paid parental leave in 2017 versus more than 30,000 women. Yet research shows that men — and millennial men particularly — want the option of having time at home with their children.

The Kiwi Dads campaign calls for companies to make access to parental leave equally available to men and women, whether that is access to fully-paid time off, a top-up of the government contribution for new parents, or equally flexible schedules to allow for normal parenting responsibilities such as school pick-ups and caring for sick children.

Sharing parental leave helps to close the gender pay gap: instead of imposing a “motherhood penalty” of a 12.5 percent difference in wages, men sharing care allows women to return to work faster and to accept promotions or new roles. Men who take extended parental leave are more likely to remain as equal carers, working flexibly and sharing more of the domestic household and childcare duties. And, a Swedish study found a mother’s future earnings rose 7 percent on average for each month of parental leave her husband took.

Pictured: Tom Herring works flexibly to support Kate (5) and Ben (3.5) and his wife, whose job includes regular travel. He took two weeks’ leave for both children when they were born. Photo: Sarah Weber