Today is Family Day, all over the world workshops, seminars, policy meetings, exhibitions and events to raise awareness of the importance of families are being organized. This year’s theme is: “Ensuring work family balance.”
“This year’s International Day of Families highlights the need for work-family balance. The aim is to help workers everywhere provide for their families financially and emotionally, while also contributing to the socio-economic development of their societies.” United Nations (UN), Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
In 1993 a UN resolution was adopted to reflect the importance of families and securing their status within the international community. 1994 the United Nations declared the International Year of Families, due to the changing social and economical structures having an impact on family structures and units, leading to the increasing need of raising awareness of family related issues. Since 1995, 15th of May is marked as Family Day.
This year’s theme addresses the social and economical structural changes, impacting families. Worldwide, the demographic transition is leading to smaller families, lower birth rates and an ageing population. More women are participating in the labour market, urbanization is growing and people tend to move from their homes due to labour, thus impacting family structures and splitting them up. Children are often left behind in the care of their grandparents, however with increasing age they often required care themselves, putting a double burden on parents having to take care of their children and parents and the same time.
Within Europe, we are fortunate to have access to childcare in form of day-care or kindergartens and older people requiring intensive care can move into retirement or nursing homes. However, in developing countries affordable quality child or elderly care is often not available. Forcing children to leave school and having to take care of their young siblings and grandparents.
Maternity leaves, home office or flexible working schedules can have a positive effect on work – family balance but still needs to increase on a global level.
Ban Ki- moon states in his message that: policies and programs are critical to enhancing the work-family balance. These actions can also lead to better working conditions, greater employee health and productivity, and a more concerted focus on gender equality.
Let us bring families in to the spotlights and raise awareness for work-family balance, benefiting each global citizen and societies at large.