© 2017

Comparative Perspectives on Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality

Fathers on Leave Alone

  • Margaret O'Brien
  • Karin Wall


  • This open access book provides an international perspective on fathers who take parental leave alone Raises important issues on modernization of the life course and the family in contemporary societies

  • Provides an understanding on the impact in social and policy context

  • Provides a comparison on countries which have introduced generous fully-compensated leave entitlements for fathers

Open Access

Part of the Life Course Research and Social Policies book series (LCRS, volume 6)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Margaret O’Brien, Karin Wall
    Pages 1-10 Open Access
  3. Elin Kvande, Berit Brandth
    Pages 29-44 Open Access
  4. Diane-Gabrielle Tremblay, Nadia Lazzari Dodeler
    Pages 69-87 Open Access
  5. Johanna Lammi-Taskula
    Pages 89-106 Open Access
  6. Gerardo Meil, Pedro Romero-Balsas, Jesús Rogero-García
    Pages 107-124 Open Access
  7. Ann-Zofie Duvander, Linda Haas, Sara Thalberg
    Pages 125-145 Open Access
  8. Ingólfur V. Gíslason
    Pages 147-162 Open Access
  9. Margaret O’Brien, Katherine Twamley
    Pages 163-181 Open Access
  10. Isabel Valarino
    Pages 205-230 Open Access
  11. Karin Wall, Margaret O’Brien
    Pages 257-266 Open Access

About this book


This book is open access under a CC BY-NC 2.5 license.

This book portrays men’s experiences of home alone leave and how it affects their lives and family gender roles in different policy contexts and explores how this unique parental leave design is implemented in these contrasting policy regimes.   The book brings together three major theoretical strands: social policy, in particular the literature on comparative leave policy developments; family and gender studies, in particular the analysis of gendered divisions of work and care and recent shifts in parenting and work-family balance; critical studies of men and masculinities, with a specific focus on fathers and fathering in contemporary western societies and life-courses. Drawing on empirical data from in-depth interviews with fathers across eleven countries, the book shows that the experiences and social processes associated with fathers’ home alone leave involve a diversity of trends, revealing both innovations and absence of change, including pluralization as well as the constraining influence of policy, gender, and social context.   As a theoretical and empirical book it raises important issues on modernization of the life course and the family in contemporary societies. The book will be of particular interest to scholars in comparing western societies and welfare states as well as to scholars seeking to understand changing work-life policies and family life in societies with different social and historical pathways. 


Comparative leave policy developments Family and gender studies Gendered divisions of work and care Modernization of the life course Recent shifts in parenting and work-family balance Unique parental leave

Editors and affiliations

  • Margaret O'Brien
    • 1
  • Karin Wall
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of EducationUniversity of London Thomas Coram Research UnitLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of Lisbon Institute of Social SciencesLisbonPortugal

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Comparative Perspectives on Work-Life Balance and Gender Equality
  • Book Subtitle Fathers on Leave Alone
  • Editors Margaret O'Brien
    Karin Wall
  • Series Title Life Course Research and Social Policies
  • Series Abbreviated Title Life Course Research,Social Policies
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and the Author(s) 2017
  • License CC BY-NC
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-42968-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-319-82708-7
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-42970-0
  • Series ISSN 2211-7776
  • Series E-ISSN 2211-7784
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages X, 266
  • Number of Illustrations 7 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Sociology of Family, Youth and Aging
    Gender Studies
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“This edited volume … is a valuable addition to the growing research on fathers and parental leave. … this collection of studies offers important research on fathers on leave alone in different policy contexts. This will be extremely valuable for well-versed researchers interested in issues surrounding work–life balance and gender equality as well as anyone who wants to learn more about parental leave policies in the eleven featured countries.” (Gayle Kaufman, European Journal of Population, Vol. 33, 2017)