“Who Cares? - A Study on Fatherhood after Separation in Sweden and Germany”
Within the theoretical framework of caring masculinities, the integration of care values in men’s identities is emphasized as an essential facilitator of gender equality. Men themselves have been dedicating more time and resources to care work within families. After parents’ separation, however, mothers are still commonly the primary caregiver. A major change though has been the introduction of shared residency models. While in Sweden shared residency is broadly adapted, in Germany, however, it is only rarely practiced. Drawing on these differences, the qualitative study uses data from 12 interviews to explore and compare experiences of fatherhood after separation in Sweden and Germany. It then discusses the implications of the fathers’ experiences for the concept of caring masculinities. The study discovered that, even though most fathers in the sample have shared residency models, there is great variation in how fatherhood is experienced. The relationship with the mother, legal regulations, socio-cultural norms, and personal networks were identified as decisive determinants for post-separation fathering. Especially sharing care and responsibilities equally after separation contributed to sharpening men’s understanding of care work.