[Brussels, 30 March 2011] The EWL reiterated its call for inclusive family policies that promote gender equality in a high-level conference on the impact of reconciliation policies on demographic trends organized by the Hungarian EU Presidency 28-29 March.
Speaking in panel discussion on the impact of reconciliation policies on fertility and fatherhood roles, the EWL reminded that reconciliation policies should not only be on the agenda because of their contribution to fertility rates, but also because they are fundamental to advancing equality between women and men in paid and unpaid work.
The EWL noted that all reconciliation policies do not advance equality between women and men, and outlined the characteristics of gender equal reconciliation policies.
One such characteristic is that they encourage equal share of care and domestic responsibilities between women and men. The EWL stressed the necessity of public policies that accelerate the slow and uneven change in fatherhood roles, for example paternity leave provisions and non-transferable and well-paid parental leaves.
The EWL also reminded that in view of aging population and increasing care needs reconciliation policies and legislation must extend beyond parenting. Policies that aim to engaging fathers are not necessarily enough to ensure that women and men will share the responsibility of care for other dependents as well.
The EWL stressed that publicly funded care services for all dependents are an essential part of better reconciliation policies, and reminded that on 7 March the Employment and Social Affairs ministers renewed their commitment to the Barcelona Childcare targets and promised to increase care services for elderly people.
The Hungarian EU Presidency focuses on families and family policies, and organized a thematic week "Families for Europe, Europe for Families." The EWL issues ahead of the week a statement on inclusive family policies that promote equality between women and men.