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International Conference Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality

COFACE organised, in cooperation with the UN Focal Point on the Family, the international conference ‘Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Gender Equality: the role of family policies and exchange of good practices’ in the auditorium of the University of Amsterdam, on 19-20 April. The event was supported by the University of Amsterdam and the European Commission, and was organised in partnership with the social entreprise Pro Parents and the Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History (ATRIA).

The conference put a spotlight on the role of family policies in the implementation of the SDGs and specifically engaged in one of the most important and holistic targets of the SDGs: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (Goal 5). Policymakers, researchers, employers, parents, civil society representatives… Close to 100 participants from more than 20 different nationalities attended the conference in the Aula Oude Lutherse Kerk, an impressive building of the University of Amsterdam.

The conference was opened by Renata Kaczmarska, Social Affairs Officer, UN Focal Point on the Family, Annemie Drieskens, President of COFACE and Dymph van den Boom, Rector of the University of Amsterdam. Jan Vandemoortele, delivered a thought-provoking speech on how sustainable are the Sustainable Development Goals. Pearl Dykstra, Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam discussed about policies and gender equality in the family realm. “Gender equality requires ungoing maintenance”, said Jet Bussemaker, Minister of Education, Culture and Science. Antia Wiersma, from the Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History, Atria, stated “Women and men have the same amount of leisure time, but half the career, half the money & twice the worries”. Manuela Geleng, from the DG Employment at the European Commission, explained the role of the EU in implementing the SDGs and promoting gender equality.

The second day was divided into three interactive sessions: (1) Unpaid care and shared responsibilities within the household, (2) The role of civil society organisations in achieving the SDGs and (3) Achieving gender equality and the SDGs through European policies.

For the first time since COFACE obtained the UN consultative status in2014, we organised a joint event with the UN focal point on the family in Amsterdam.

Following the event, COFACE Families Europe published the policy paper: THE ROLE OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY ASSOCIATIONS IN THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE SDGs
More information:
Conference Programme
Pictures of the event

Conference Opener (Annemie Drieskens, Coface Families Europe President)

The importance of family policy for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (Renata Kaczmarska, UN Focal Point on the Family, DSPD/DESA)

Supporting men’s different family roles: new online services in Finland (Anna Rotkirch, Population Research Institute)

The Dutch way: Compromising family or compromising career? (Antia Wiersma, Manager Collections, Research and Advice and Deputy Director)

Uses of time, reconciliation and shared responsability (Ascension Iglesias, UNAF President)

Sharing the Responsibilities of the Second and the Third Shift? (Eelco Wierda, Senior Policy Advisor)

Men and women at work in Europe: some reflections on work-life balance (Greet Vermeylen, Senior Programme Manager sustainable work over the life course)

Contradiction between policies and attitudes – the case of Estonia (Hanna Vseviov, Department of children and families, Ministry of Social Affairs)

Reconciling work and care over the life course – transfers to old parents (Irena E. Kotowska, Warsaw School of Economics)

The 8 steps of Systematic Innovation (James Stuart Duffin, Chief Executive Officer : Women for Women)

How sustainable are the SDGs? (Jan Vandemoortele formerly with UNICEF, UNDP, ILO & co-architect of the MDGs)

H.E. Minister dr. Jet Bussemaker

Working Parendhood: how to create a roadmap supporting challenges at the workfloor (Joyce Lnappe, Founder Pro Parents)

EU’s role in promoting gender equality (Manuela GELENG Acting Director, Social Affairs DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion)

Sustainable Development Goals and Gender Equality (Marion Macleod Policy Manager at Children in Scotland)

Reconciling Work and Family Life as a strategic tool to achieve gender equality and the SDGs (Paola Panzeri, policy officer at COFACE Families Europe)

Policies and gender equality in the family realm (Pearl Dykstra, Families in Context)

Gender equality and women’s rights as a crucial pillar to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (Sascha Gabizon, WECF and WMG)

Social services for teenage and young parents in risk of social exclusion (Silvija Stanić, Parents Association Step by Step )




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