On 28 and 29 March 2011, EIGE Head of Operations Barbara Wurster participated in the "Europe for Families, Families for Europe –Conference on Demographic Change" organised by the Hungarian Presidency.

The conference drew attention to past and future trends in fertility and family formation. Family support in the form of appropriate child care, flexible working arrangements, cash and tax benefits for families with children etc were addressed as policies known to facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life. The improvement of employment opportunities for women, indeed for parents and how family policies are likely to contribute for both economic growth as well as social well-being were addressed an in particular in the Panel 1 discussions – which EIGE contributed to.

The overall intention of this well attended international Presidency conference, financially supported by the European Commission, was to move support for families interlocked with demographic issues higher up on the policy agenda. While respecting that family affairs and ageing policy fall under the competence of Member States, the conference wanted to enhance EU action and cross-border co-operations that can lead to policy solutions at national level as well.

EIGE's contribution to the Conference

Data and findings show that reconciliation policies have a fundamental role in promoting wider and better participation of women in the labour market and in social activities. What is more, they are likely to enhance the involvement of men in care responsibilities to a larger degree as well as improving the overall quality of living of men, women, children and dependant persons.

Overall, several factors interdependently determine the gender coherence of reconciliation policies, regulation and practices, such as:

  • Financial benefits;
  • Maternity and paternity leave;
  • Social dialogue;
  • Raising awareness;
  • Active labour market policies;

thus creating the necessity to deal with these in a strategic approach.

EIGE works with the European Commission and Member States to improve and strengthen the gender dimension of social, economic, welfare and financial policies in order to enhance a systematic and sustainable approach to growth and social development.

Related Documents

Barbara Wurster's speech: "The impact of work-family reconciliation on fertility and on fatherhood roles in Europe" (.pdf, 96,5 KB)