Special childcare for elk hunting parents
The annual elk hunt - or moose hunt if you are North American - started in southern Sweden on Monday. It is a long awaited feast for many, and has even affected the otherwise strict rules for the heavily subsidised child-care in some municipalities.
Normally, a child is only able to go to the government funded child-care if the parents are at work, or at more limited hours if a parent is on parental leave or job hunting. But in Malung-Sälen municipality, in the west of Sweden, the elk hunt has brought about the possibility to - for five days in a year - keep the children in child-care even if a parent is on holiday.
"It is a big tradition here in Malung to go on the elk hunting. Before we had the trouble with the men - usually the men, I should say - going on holiday on the elk hunting, and the children couldn't be at day care. And that is why the women.. had to take out some of their vacation, just to take care of the children. We needed to do something about it," said Sofia Söderström, chairperson of the child and education committee in the municipality.
It is not as if there is a massive demand for this exception, Sofia Söderström estimates that between 10 and 20 children and their parents use it every year, which is a couple of children in every day-care group. But it is a service that is relevant in a municipality like Malung-Sälen, so that women too can take their holidays when they want to, and not just because they are forced to when their men go hunting.
"There is a life before and a life after hunting week. It is a huge, huge tradition. The men are talking about it for weeks before, and then this special week goes on... it's a big big thing for many people," she said.
There are of course also women who go hunting, but the gender aspect is still relevant, according to Söderström.