“Work-life balance as a leverage for women’s empowerment and promoting gender equality” says High-level Conference
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher,
Global Human Rights Defence.
On the 12th of April 2022, gender and labour ministers from Europe met in Rome for a Conference organised by the Council of Europe under the Italian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. The aim of the Conference was to:
“explore how to face the challenge of creating a better work-life balance for women, ensure that family responsibilities can be better shared, improve gender equality and prevent gender-based discrimination”.
Additionally, the Conference addressed and contributed to the Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023. The Strategy calls for the participation of women in decisions concerning work-life balance so as to achieve “economic independence and to overcome gender gaps in the public and business sectors”. More broadly, the Strategy puts gender equality as a central aim in the Council of Europe’s mission since “effective equality between women and men is far from being a reality”.
During this Conference, debate and conversation mainly focused on work-life balance, the prevention of gender-based discrimination, and overcoming social and cultural obstacles based on gender. Moreover, the participants of the Conference adopted conclusions which will give an overall direction to the Council of Europe’s mission in that area. These conclusions, which are specific and directive, ask for action to be taken on behalf of States and governments, employers, and all other actors who should “join forces with civil society”.
Despite the progress that has been made regarding gender equality in the recent years, this equality still remains largely ‘fictional’ in a practical sense. Further action is necessary to achieve real gender equality and the Council of Europe’s work on the matter can only be welcomed and encouraged.
Sources and further reading:
Council of Europe. (2022, April 13). Work-life Balance Crucial for Gender Equality and Empowering Women. Newsroom – Council of Europe. Retrieved on April 14, 2022, from https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/work-life-balance-crucial-for-gender-equality-and-empowering-women
Council of Europe. (2018, March). Council of Europe Gender Equality Strategy 2018-2023. https://rm.coe.int/prems-093618-gbr-gender-equality-strategy-2023-web-a5/16808b47e1
Council of Europe. (2022, April 12). High-level Conference on Work-life Balance as a Leverage for Women’s Empowerment and Promoting Gender Equality – Conference Conclusions. Retrieved on April 14, 2022, from https://rm.coe.int/draft-conclusions-rome-conference-final/1680a62988
Council of Europe. (2022, April 12). Work-life Balance as a Leverage for Women's Empowerment and Promoting Gender Equality. https://www.coe.int/en/web/genderequality/rome-conference