Dads from Moldova: A photo exhibit that challenges stereotypes, showing men alone with their kids

Date : 26 April 2018

In Moldova, widespread patriarchal attitudes and gender-based stereotypes perpetuate the idea that women are responsible for child and home care, with fathers expected to be breadwinners. To challenge this widespread notion, the Embassy of Sweden organised in partnership with the UN in Moldova the photo exhibition Dads from Moldova and Sweden.

Petru, 43-years-old, university professor. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Petru Negura, 43-years-old, university professor. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

Held in a commercial centre in Chisinau, from 17-30 April 2018, Dads from Moldova and Sweden depicts in compelling images Moldovan and Swedish fathers engaging single-handedly with their children in a variety of every-day family situations. 

Tudor, 32-years-old, public relations specialist. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Tudor Mereacre, 32-years-old, public relations specialist. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

Importantly, the Dads from Moldova and Sweden exhibition shows the positive impacts that gender equality in sharing childcare activities has on individuals and society.

Tudor, 33-years-old, programmer, blogger. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

Tudor Ceban, 33-years-old, programmer, blogger. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

Dads from Moldova and Sweden in a recent survey, 52 per cent of Moldovan said they thought it was inappropriate for a man to stay at home and take of the children with the female partner or spouse worked and acted as primary family breadwinner.

Eugen, 30-years-old, engineer. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Eugen Șmîcov, 30-years-old, engineer. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

These patriarchal attitudes and gender-based stereotypes are reflected in Moldovan family policies: Working mothers are entitled to 100 per cent paid leave for 70 days before and 56 days after the birth of a child but working fathers get only 14 days fully paid leave, and that after their child’s birth.

Vladimir, 30-years-old, pharmaceutist. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Vladimir Bolocan, 30-years-old, pharmaceutist. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

In April 2016, Moldova’s Parliament passed Law 71, with government-provided 14 days fully paid paternity leave. Law 71 has had an impact, with over 2,700 fathers taking the full 14 days paid paternity leave in 2017, up from 60 in 2016, according to data from Moldova’s National Insurance Service House.

Mihail, 32-years-old, border service officer. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Mihail Pîslăraș, 32-years-old, border service officer. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

Still, despite the law, women continue to be the primary beneficiaries of the paid parental leave for childcare: Only 1 in 10 of recipients are men.

Victor, 31-years-old, programmer. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Victor Turcan, 31-years-old, programmer. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

This disparity is reflected in the National Bureau of Statistics’ Time Use Survey findings in 2011. Undertaken with support from the UN in Moldova, the Time Use Survey found that 60 per cent of women engage in daily in children-care, but only 41 per cent of men. This excess time spent by Moldovan women on unpaid childcare work limits their earning potential and personal development.

Vitalie, 37-years-old, mechanical operator. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Vitalie Burlaca, 37-years-old, mechanical operator. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

Only 40 per cent of women with children under 6 years are employed, compared to 60 per cent of men. Crucially, for women with children under 3 years, only 10 per cent are employed, according to National Bureau of Statistics.

Andrei, 35-years-old, artist. Photo: Mihai Turculeț
Andrei Donțu, 35-years-old, artist. Photo: Mihai Turculeț

The UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Sustainable Development Goad (SDG) 5, which promotes gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, is an opportunity for Moldova to develop equitable social insurance and social protection policies, infrastructure and services. Men and women should enjoy equal treatment regarding labour and payment, distribution of unpaid domestic and care work, and social security.