Women’s engagement with employed work has immediate visibility since it takes place in the public sphere. Men’s involvement in family work, by contrast, does not tie into the same social value-claiming process. Men’s performance of household and family tasks is arguably much more “revolutionary” in terms of changing established norms and values than women’s involvement in employed work.

Taking family time into account in the organisation of working time increasingly seems to be the prerequisite for successful implementation of the gender equality principle. For that to happen, however, the concept of reconciling work and family life needs to be rethought in universal terms, i.e., in terms that embrace both men’s and women’s wants and needs, not just those of women, as has too often been the case so far. These universal terms can only come about from balancing men’s and women’s needs and wants in terms of time for family life.

Where families specifically are concerned, men must realise that the future of equality in the family depends first and foremost on them, their commitment and ability to negotiate and socially impose the legitimacy of their presence in the home to look after and take care of their children or other dependent family members. Lone-parent fathers who have to contend with this situation could help spearhead change in this respect.

Engineering real equality between men’s and women’s rights cannot stop short at the workplace and public sphere, however essential that may be. It must also extend to the private sphere where the family holds pride of place, failing which the existing gender inequalities will be perpetuated indefinitely.


WLB Update: Moving In The Right Direction

WLB update: Moving in the right direction

This December update is a short pre-xmas one for those of you following the implementation of the EU worklife balance package proposed by the European Commission in April 2017. Trilogues on the EU worklife balance directive Two trilogues planned for…

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Work-Life-Balance Update – Onwards And Upwards

Work-Life-Balance update – onwards and upwards

EU Legislation  Together with 13 European and international organisations on 5th November (day before a key trilogue), we issued a public statement  highlighting our ambitions and red lines on the EU work-life balance directive. The negotiations between Parliament and Council…

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Work-Life-Balance Update: Where Are We Now?

Work-Life-Balance update: Where are we now?

Negotiations between Parliament and Council have started. The Austrian Presidency scheduled 5 trilogues and two already took place. The negotiations are ongoing as we speak and the possibility to reach a deal by the end of the year is more…

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