On the occasion of the International Day of Families, the Union of Family Associations (UNAF), which is am member of the COFACCE network, is calling on the Spanish government to take urgent measures to support families so that they can cope with the health, economic and social crisis resulting from the pandemic. UNAF also hopes that the Family Diversity Act will provide greater protection for different family structures in the form of measures, benefits and services that guarantee equal opportunities.
The socio-economic crisis caused by the pandemic has had a strong impact on families in Spain, which now has more than 4 million unemployed people and 900,000 workers in temporary lay-offs (ERTE), according to the latest data from the Ministries of Employment and Social Security. In addition, one in three children live at risk of poverty or social exclusion, according to UNICEF.
In this context, UNAF calls for employment support policies with a gender focus, taking into account that female unemployment is growing more than twice as fast as among men and that women are exposed to greater job insecurity, with more reductions in working hours, job abandonment and leave of absence for care and a pay gap. These policies should also promote youth employment, another sector which is badly affected.
“Families urgently need solutions in order to get ahead, with measures to promote employment, support for housing, extension of the coverage of the Minimum Vital Income and effective measures against energy poverty. The Government must act quickly because families cannot wait any longer”, says Ascensión Iglesias, president of UNAF.
UNAF also calls for the development of measures to implement the European Child Guarantee and break the cycle of child poverty and social exclusion. “Children who are in situations of poverty and vulnerability are there because their families are. The transmission of poverty to children must be prevented, and to do so, governments must support families as a whole.”
In addition, UNAF urges the implementation of conciliation and co-responsibility measures. “The pandemic has highlighted the shortcomings of a system that does not allow for a balance between family, work and personal life. This should serve as a turning point to rethink public policies in which care is placed at the forefront as a shared responsibility of society as a whole, and not only of families or, more particularly, of women”, says the president of UNAF.
In this sense, the organisation has pointed out the need for these reconciliation and co-responsibility policies to also have a gender focus, as it is women who continue to take on most of the domestic and care work, which has repercussions on their employability, salaries and pensions in the future.
On the other hand, UNAF is confident that the Family Diversity Act will effectively guarantee greater protection for different family structures through measures, benefits and services. “In addition to recognising the family diversity present in our society, it is essential that the law takes into account the specific factors and needs of each type of family in order to offer adapted and effective responses, so as to guarantee equal opportunities”.
Finally, UNAF reminds that it is necessary to develop universal, free and quality public services in the field of health, education and social services, as well as to support NGOs and entities of the Third Sector, which have proven to be an essential pillar to meet social demands and help millions of people in vulnerable situations.
Furthermore, on the occasion of International Day of Families UNAF was holding the webinar ‘Family Diversity: Topics and realities’, where they critically reflected on the new family structures as contexts for promoting child psychological development and adult well-being.
Some topics on the influence of the new family structures on certain aspects of child development were analysed and the peculiarities and needs of these new structures present in our society were presented.
Finally, the webinar analysed the conditions of good treatment and the promotion of development that are transversal to all the new family structures and that favour the healthy development of our daughters and sons.