In 2011, Save the Children rated Norway as top spot on its Mother's Index, with Scandinavian neighbor Sweden following up in fourth place [source: Save the Children]. Norway's low maternal and infant mortality rates helped earned it that coveted kudos, along with its offering nearly a year of leave to new mothers, paid at a percentage of their salaries [source: Brenhouse]. Pappapermisjon, or government-protected paternity leave, also benefits dads handsomely. Fathers have the option to divvy up a total of just over a year of parental leave with their wives, paid at 80 percent of their base salary. Moreover, a whopping 10 weeks, or nearly three months, are reserved solely for their use [source: Chemin]. And since that block is nontransferable to mothers, 90 percent of Norwegian dads take advantage of their allowance [source: Chemin].
Perhaps the success of Norway's paternity policy has come from the government leading by example. In early 2011, two male cabinet members -- the justice minister and family affairs minister -- temporarily traded in their posts for diaper duty with the prime minister's public support [source: Gibbs].