Caritas Athens

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March 8th is the day to celebrate women globally; dedicated to the personality and struggles, as well as the sacrifices and achievements of all women worldwide.

The roots of International Day of Women’s Rights are traced back to 1857 when textile women workers in New York protested and fought for improving their working conditions. Two years later these women also organized their first labor union.

Initially, the day was celebrated in 1909 on the initiative of US Socialist Party, while two years after that it was adopted by Socialist International and was dedicated to the struggles for equal rights.

The rise of the feminist movement throughout the western world in the 1960s rejuvenated the celebration which became institutionalized by the U.N.O. in 1975, spearheading the advancement of women’s role in modern society, their preoccupations, and their rights unceasingly undermined; their involvement and empowerment to fully participate and to manage successfully modern challenges.

Today, International Women’s Day, although degenerated to a symbolic celebration of the “fair sex”, it remains up-to-date and imperative; all demands for women’s fully equal rights and strengthening of their role in society are re-expressed, while in many countries even their most basic human rights are violated.



Caritas Europa’s statement on the occasion of the International Women’s Day


On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Caritas Europa asks European institutions and governments to break stereotypes regarding parental care responsibilities in families by adopting the proposed EU legislation on work-family life balance.

‘’The current proposal for an EU Directive on work-family life balance presents a unique opportunity to reduce the gaps between fathers and mothers in terms of employment, pay and care responsibilities, to facilitate the choice of having children and to promote women’s labour market participation. Moreover, research indicates that a better balance between work and family life is an investment that leads to happier workers and increased productivity, decreasing staff turnover and absenteeism at work’’.

“It is of crucial importance to get this right: women and men have equal rights. That also means equal obligations when it comes to sharing childcare and domestic work in the family. A better work-family life balance benefits not only families by decreasing the gaps between men and women, but also companies and the economy as employee’s are more motivated,” says Shannon Pfohman, Caritas Europa’s Policy and Advocacy Director.

‘’It is now time that the Council and the European Parliament reach an agreement on the proposal for the work-family life balance Directive and ensure a decent remuneration of parental leave for at least four months per parent. By adopting this Directive, they can prove their commitment to move towards a more social Europe, as pledged during the proclamation of the European Pillar of Social Rights in November 2017. Let’s not forget that family is a vital cell of society’’!