The paper aims to provide a critique of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) in the UK from a gender equality perspective, namely to assess whether SPL is capable of enabling more men to take leave in order to act as the main carer for their child. Leave policies in Nordic countries, where the rate of take-up by fathers is high, are also examined. It argues that SPL is open to legal challenge by fathers who do not meet the eligibility criteria, as the SPL scheme as currently drafted breaches the terms of the EU Parental Leave Directive and is also discriminatory on grounds of sex. The paper concludes that SPL is flawed as a policy. Whilst the UK government argues for a more equal division of childcare between father and mother, it seems unwilling to challenge the expectation that mothers provide the primary care for young children. Thus SPL will only be successful if the policy is reformed to include a higher rate of pay and a period of leave reserved for fathers.