The Diversity Europe Group of the European Economic and Social Committee held last 12th November in Brussels an extraordinary meeting on the topic “New Role Models for Societies in Europe”.
As the EU Work-Life Balance Directive has entered now into the transposition phase in member states, the event gathered high EU officials, experts from academia and representatives from civil society who discussed how to fulfil the needs of families in the 21st Century and exchanged good practices across EU Member States.
Other topics discussed included proposals by civil society to address the challenges in reconciling professional and family life, irrespective of the gender of the parents or the family structure and how to enable family carers to provide quality and long-term care for those in need.
Most of the speakers considered that despite many laws adopted in relation to Gender Equality, little progress has been achieved.
Annemie Drieskens, COFACE President, spoke on the panel “Have societal attitudes to parenting and family life kept up with reality?” where she brought COFACE’s expertise and leadership on Work-Life Balance. She underlined that families need Time, Resources and Services, and added that families are the first social safety net. She advocated for adequate payment of parental leave and stimuli for men’s uptake of leaves, highlighting that supporting fathers is supporting children. She also introduced COFACE’s priorities for 2020-2024 “A New Deal for Families of today”.
COFACE AC members Kinga Joo (EESC member) and Amaia Echevarría spoke as well during the Conference and they brought their expertise on work-life balance matters. Ms Echevarría introduced to the attendants the UNAF Spain Report on “Policies for the Reconciliation of Family, Personal and Work Life”, a comparative study of work-life balance policies in the EU.