Developing initiatives to encourage men to take parental leave : a photo exhibition

Problem (evidence)

The use of extended parental leave for men is still rare. There was a lack of information available about the parental laws and the possibilities of the fathers to act as carers. The Portuguese law includes the possibility of increasing the duration of total parental leave if the parental leave is shared between parents. Social Security currently pays 100% parental leave of 120 days (four months) for a mother or 150 days (five months) when the parental leave is shared between mother and father.

The parental leave laws and the culture in Sweden and in Portugal are different. In Sweden the fathers often take the total parental leave. According to data from Eurobarometer in 2018 in Portugal 32% of the fathers used parental leave and in Sweden 55% (the mean in the EU is 20%). (source: )


To promote men’s participation in the care of children and to promote the national legislation on shared parental leave by organising an event and a permanent exhibition.


Space for the launch event and a long-term exhibition (the atrium of the ISEG library).

Posters and flyers for the exhibition. For Sweden material was provided by the Embassy; for Portugal material was prepared by the PLOTINA Team based on CITE documentation (like here).

Contacts in the traditional media.

A jury for the contest of Photos, the prize for the photos (here).

Dissemination in social media and traditional media. A co-organization of Swedish Embassy, PLOTINA ISEG Team and ISEG.

Brief outcomes

Contribution to the work personal life integration debate and the fathers’ role as carers.

Raised awareness of Portuguese legislation about parental leave and the possibility of increasing the parental leave if there is a share between parents. Raising awareness not only in the RPO but also to public in general and in other Universities.

Key area

Work and personal life integration

Type of action

Positive action/policy


Lisbon School of Economics and Management (ISEG)
Higher education institution

Action level of implementation

All RPO community with a focus on those with commitments and duties of relatives


The original initiative is from Embassy of Sweden and is promoted in many countries across the world. The ISEG PLOTINA team and ISEG were contacted by the Swedish Embassy to co-organize and host an exhibition and a national photo contest. The exhibition lasted from 19 March 2018 (Fathers Day) until June 2018. The event was announced in the social media, ISEG (here) and Universidade de Lisboa Web page (here). The posters (here) were disseminated in all the Faculties of University of Lisbon (18 in total in different locations in Lisbon), all the IKEA shops in Portugal (also in the IKEA site) and also in junior schools in the neighbourhoods of ISEG in order to inform the parents of the children in the basic schools. The launch of the exhibition took place with talks from the Ambassador of Sweden, the President of Scientific Council of ISEG, the Secretary of State for Gender Equality and a presentation of PLOTINA. Some actors and football players who are fathers, also took part to event/action and attended the opening session. A gallery of photos of the opening of the exhibition also with the winner photos can be found here, 45 photos.

The exhibition was repeated in December 2019/January 2020 in the space of University of Lisbon (Universidade de Lisboa) that is open 24h/7d, the Caleidoscopio Space.

More detailed Outcomes/Impact

Enhancing awareness of the legislation concerning parental leave.

Increasing the knowledge about parenting and rights for mothers and fathers.

Promotion of cultural models where father’s parental leave is common (55% in the case of Sweden) and where men take a very active role in parenting.

Reflection: what we would do differently

A space hat open 24 hours a day 7 days a week is attractive and was used for the second event.


Positive: The time of exhibition was extended as it proved more popular than we had expected. A second edition (in December 2019/January 2020) was not planned in March 2018 but it emerged due to the success of the event.