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German presidency of the EU – Follow topics on families

Germany has had the presidency of the Council of the European Union since July. Under their slogan “Together for Europe’s recovery” their mandate seems clear: working together to emerge stronger from the crisis. How can this look like on the European policy field? We have had a closer look at their latest news and events regarding families and their concerns to answer this question.

During their presidency in September, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth published a dossier on unpaid care work which addresses the question of why the time used for housekeeping, care and supervision of children and adults as well as voluntary work and informal help is unequally distributed between women and men. The dossier will initiate a debate about ways to allocate unpaid care work and paid employment more fairly.

The dossier, entitled “Who takes care of children, household and the elderly? – A dossier on the societal dimension of a private question”, focuses on three parts:

  • Status quo: The Gender Care Gap – what it means and what results it has
  • Causes: Between wishful thinking and reality: how traditional task-sharing becomes manifest over the course of life
  • Solutions: How to achieve a more equal allocation of tasks measures and approaches

Why are life courses diverging? Why do people become “carers” or “earners”? What factors influence the distribution of unpaid care work? And how can (unpaid) care work and employment be allocated and distributed more fairly? This dossier provides answers to these and other questions questions. It summarises the results of a research report. See the full report here.

During its 6-month presidency, Germany has organised many events. Among those are three which caught our attention and discuss rainbow families, gender equality and families during COVID-19.

18/19.11.2020: International Conference on “Intersectionality and LGBTI Policies in Europe: Lived Realities of Lesbian* Women and the Recognition of Rainbow Families”

Due to differing legal regulations in the EU Member States, rainbow families, married lesbian* couples or their children face restrictions to their freedom of movement within the EU more often than heterosexual married couples. Co-motherhood is rarely sufficiently defined in the national laws of the Member States, regulations on adoption covering the situation of rainbow families differ or do not exist in some countries. Lesbian* women face mutually reinforcing stigmatisation as women* and on account of their sexual orientation. Other types of discrimination on the grounds of disability, religious views, origin, age or social status can exacerbate their situation further.

This conference draws attention to the intersectional realities of lesbian* women as overlapping and mutually reinforcing aspects of discrimination and the specific needs of rainbow families that need to be recognised and addressed within human rights, anti-discrimination and equality policies on the European as well as on the national level.

On Panel 3 “Rainbow Families – Challenges and steps ahead: Towards the full recognition of rainbow families across the European Union?” our member NELFA (Network of European LGBTIQ* Families Associations) will be present with two speakers, Eleni Maravelia, President of NELFA and Björn Sieverding, Board member of NELFA.

For the programme and registration click here.


19.11.2020: Women in Focus: Coronavirus and Gender Equality in Europe

In this parliamentary afternoon on “Women in Focus: Coronavirus and Gender Equality in Europe” the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and the German Presidency will discuss the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender equality. How will Member States and the European institutions successfully cooperate during and after the pandemic to protect women from violence and to promote gender equality in paid work and in unpaid care work?

The pandemic has changed the way we live day-to-day, but it is equally important to understand the long-term consequences for both women and men. Only then can effective policies to address the new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 crisis be designed – as well as the old challenges that went unnoticed prior to the pandemic.

In two panels, the event will examine actions taken by the EU institutions, as well as by the EU and Council of Europe Member States, to answer the gender-related challenges brought to light by the pandemic and discuss how to work together to fight inequality in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
Panellists include Franziska Giffey, German Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth; Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality; Mariana Vieira da Silva, Portuguese Minister of State for the Presidency responsible for Gender Equality; Carlien Scheele, Director of EIGE and members of the German Bundestag, the European Parliament and the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO).

For the programme and registration click here.


24.11.2020: Overcoming COVID-19 — jointly developing prospects for strong families

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown from the very beginning that families are the central pillar of our society. For a large number of families, however, this time had and still has a strong economic and psychological impact. For children, the closure of educational and care facilities meant the loss of contact with friends, and the switching to home-schooling caused great challenges. Many families have to cope with fewer financial resources despite emergency financial measures. This period also presented problems with regard to balancing work and family life.

The different political measures to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families with children in Europe show that EU member states are responding with different approaches to the same challenges. This is obviously partly due to the different starting points of countries in pre-COVID-19 times, especially in the area of family policy and digitalisation.

In this one day event, the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), in cooperation with the Observatory for Sociopolitical Developments in Europe, give a focus on these issues concerning families. Together with representatives of the European Commission and the EU Member States as well as with experts from politics, science and civil society, the discussions will focus on current challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and possible solutions in order to jointly develop prospects for strong families.

For the programme and registration click here.

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