As gender equality becomes a priority of the President-elect of the European Commission and as the 'EU Directive on Work-Life Balance for Parents and Caregivers' enters into the transposition phase in Member States, it is crucial for civil society to engage with national and European policy makers to review the intricate and interrelated relationships between gender equality, work-life balance, parenting, contemporary families, carers, ageing and demographics, assistance to disabled family members, etc.
It is time to ask how to fulfil the needs of families and society at large, in the 21st Century? What best practices already exist in Member States and under what conditions have they emerged? What new proposals can be made by civil society to enhance gender equality and to reduce tensions between professional and family life, irrespective of the gender of the parents or the family structure? How to enable family carers to provide quality and long-term care for those in need?
Within this context, on 12 November the Diversity Europe Group of the EESC organised a high level conference entitled 'New Role Models for Societies in Europe'. Speakers included Ms Langbakk, director of the European Institute for Gender Equality, Ms Drieskens, President of COFACE Europe and Mr Boren, former President of the Network of European LGBTIQ Family Associations (NELFA). One of the objectives was to explore how to change mind-sets and overcome prejudices on gender roles in our societies. A solution proposed by Mr Metzler, President of the Diversity Europe Group, was the establishment of a European Family Parliament, where all stakeholders could network and exchange best practices.
For further details on the programme and speakers, please see the website of the event.