Fatherhood and Parental Leave: A Comparative Study of South Korea, Spain and the U.S.

Eunsil OH , Harvard University
Xiana Bueno, Harvard University

The central aim of this study is to understand how men in South Korea, Spain, and the US make decisions to use parental leave. Using 80 in-depth interviews with men, we explore how macro context and workplace norms shape individuals’ intentions and decisions of using leave. Findings show that a majority of male interviewees in Spain and the US perceive using leave as an appropriate behavior only when paid leaves were available for them. In contrast, while Korea has generous paid parental leave system, almost all Korean male interviewees took for granted that fathers should stabilize their position in the workplace by working harder and longer hours instead of using leave. Furthermore, we show how in general, individual men from all three societies portray desire to engage in different fatherhood compared to their upper generations. However, the lack of paid leave system and rigid workplace culture shape how men utilize leave policies.

See paper

 Presented in Session 12. Gender Inequality and Fertility