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Today I am joining with two excellent women’s rights campaigners, Edite Estrela and Anne van Lancker, to mark International Day of Families. I urge you to read this appeal and to leave a comment below to express your support. On this International Day of Families, let’s celebrate ALL families and life choices!


15 May - International Day of Families - putting people first
The PES celebrates ALL families and life choices

Today, on International Day of Families, PES Women is calling for all European politicians to put people first by giving practical support to all families and life choices.

We believe firmly in an inclusive approach which puts individuals above traditional ideas of what should constitute families.

Be it single parents, parents who are married or unmarried, same-sex couples, civil partnerships, free unions, carers, working parents, recomposed families or couples that choose not to have children, we want a society that gives everyone the same chances to balance  private and professional life, the same chance to offer love and support to its members.

The European conservatives say in their manifesto that they see “families as the centre of our society and the guardian of our values”, but at their congress they removed every reference to the growing diversity of families from their election manifesto.

Yet in the European Parliament they consistently vote against policies which would help families. 

Just last week we, the PES, supported a report improving parental rights. The Estrela Report proposed to increase minimum length for maternity leave, including the right co-maternity and  paternity leave. But it was blocked by the European conservatives, the EPP, who refused to vote for it! 

There have been many other such cases from the last five years which show the EPP’s claims to stand up for the family to be empty rhetoric. European conservatives have attempted to cut funding for fight against domestic violence, water down childcare targets, weaken sexual and reproductive health rights, slash family planning budgets, oppose an anti-discrimination directive, question women’s employment targets, criticise new rights for women in the developing world and fail to take the impact of the economic crisis on all sorts of families seriously.

If, by “family values” does not mean practical support in the face of such real problems, what does it mean?

The PES, in contrast to the EPP, has a manifesto which supports all forms of families for their inherent human value and underpins this with a series of concrete proposals, including a Women’s Rights Charter, improved parental leave rights, ambitious new childcare targets, support for women in the workplace and new measures against domestic violence, as well as a bold recovery plan to combat the unemployment and uncertainty currently blighting millions of families of all varieties across the European Union.

Please leave a comment below this post to express your support for less rhetoric about “the family” and for more practical support for all types of families. It’s time to stand up in a real way for the real families that real people live in.

Zita Gurmai MEP
Edite Estrela MEP
Anne van Lancker MEP

Author :
EurActiv Network