Participants exchanged on the role of social security in ensuring gender equality

On 3 December, the Family and Social Inclusion Committee held in the European Parliament its event "When social security systems ensure gender equality: how to (re)design social security systems to support gender equality". The event, co-organised with MEP Kumpula-Natri (S&D, Finland), gathered EU level representatives from the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of the EU alongside national social security experts.

The event was an occasion to highlight the historical role of social security, and family policies in particular, in supporting and empowering women, while managing the pressures of the traditional distribution of roles. The Members of the European Parliament present also highlighted that social security systems today might have to better take into account new househould and family structures. Gender-mainstreaming and an individualisation of rights were listed among possible solutions to best adapt social security systems to todays' realities. 

National experts gave an insight into the design of family policies and the balance to be found in order to ensure that policies do not hinder but foster gender equality by increasing the participation of women on the labour market and improving the sharing of care responsibilities between men and women. 

While the design of family policies is a national competence, the European Union has a supportive role to play. Several initiatives were highlighted, in particular the Directive on Work-Life Balance which was welcomed as a way to further improve the positive impact of family policies on gender equality. The Finnish Presidency of the Council explained the tools used during their Presidency to create a consensus accross the EU on the necessity to make more progress towards gender equality.

With the recent institutional changes after the European elections, expectations remain high to ensure that the EU institutions continue to work together with national social security systems to improve gender equality in the EU. 

Find out more in our event booklet


Photo credit: © European Union 2019 - Source: EP