14 May 2012 | General, ISCH
International Day of Families

The International Day of Families aimed to confront family poverty and social exclusion is observed on 15 May each year. This year's theme 'Ensuring work-family balance' highlights the importance of family-focused policies and programmes promoting work-family balance.

The theme addresses demographic trends such as a trend towards smaller households, rapid urbanisation and greater mobility in search of better job opportunities, weakening of traditional extended family networks offering care support for younger and vulnerable family members. These trends combined with increased work responsibilities lead to employed parents experiencing escalating family responsibilities to several generations at the same time.

They call for support of formal policies as well as practical strategies promoting reconciliation of work and care responsibilities for families, especially those with young children.

This theme was addressed by COST Action A34 'Gender and Well-Being: Interactions between Work, Family and Public Policies' which ended in 2009. It published a book in 2010 that explores the role of the family household in the production of well-being through labour – both remunerated and non-remunerated – as well as through the use of public institutions, considering the ‘distribution’ of well-being among members of the family household within the European context.

Another example, albeit small and at a more institutional level, of COST taking the work-life balance seriously is the COST Strategy for Early Stage Researchers wich contains a family-friendly policy to make COST Action initiatives more accessible to researchers with family duties.