Pune photo exhibition on ‘dads’ aims to start conversation on gender equalityhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pune-photo-exhibition-on-dads-aims-to-start-conversation-on-gender-equality-5584897/

Pune photo exhibition on ‘dads’ aims to start conversation on gender equality

The Swedish Dads-Indian Dads exhibition is being organised by the Consulate General of Sweden to support gender equality, in collaboration with Swedish companies in Pune, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI) and the UNDP.

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At the exhibition venue on Swedish Avenue. (Express Photo)

A photo exhibition about “gender sensitive fathers in Sweden and India” is being held on Swedish Avenue in Dapodi, Pune, till February 24. The Swedish photographs are by Johan Bävman and the Indian ones are by Avinash Gowariker.

The Swedish Dads-Indian Dads exhibition is being organised by the Consulate General of Sweden to support gender equality, in collaboration with Swedish companies in Pune, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in India (SCCI) and the UNDP, which launched a pilot project — Kraftsamla — on increasing female inclusion in the manufacturing sector and promoting gender equality.

The exhibition consists of 35 pictures of real-life fathers in Sweden and India.

Sweden has one of the world’s most generous parental insurance schemes, enabling parents to stay home with their children for up to 480 days, paid for by the state. Ninety of these days are reserved for each parent, exclusively. Despite this, only a fraction of Sweden’s fathers choose to claim all statutory days of parental leave, and only 14 per cent choose to share them equally.

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The Swedish subjects in the photographs remained at home for at least six months on paternity leave with their children, which is longer than most fathers in the world. The photographer, Johan Bävman, has sought to understand what this long parental leave meant to them, how it affected their relationships with both their partners and their children, and what were their expectations.

“By showing the everyday lives of fathers on parental leave, through pictures and interviews, I have focused on men who have chosen to put bonding with their children and families before their jobs and careers,” says Johan Bävman. “I’ve also sought to show the universally valid, loving aspect of parenthood, regardless of whether you’re a mother or father. With this project, I hope to inspire more men to begin reflecting on their roles as fathers and partners, which is an important step towards a more gender-balanced society. It’s good to see these stories going out into the world, where the Swedish perspective on gender equality is by no means self-evident.”

Ulrika Sundberg, Consul General of Sweden in Mumbai, said, “This exhibition will show a more gender-aware side of men, who are in search of redefining masculinity and a role reversal in raising children, which has traditionally been the exclusive responsibility of women. Photographers Johan Bävman and Avinash Gowariker have taken real fathers as models, which gives a different perception of men and their bond with their children.”

Sara Larsson, General Manager, SCCI, said, “Gender stereotyping defines what a woman or man should be or do both at the home, workplace and society, and limits us at all levels. We need to question the status quo and redefine what we do and why, what holds value and what is important. This exhibition is a great way to start a conversation.”