This research study, requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, aims to reveal the links between demography and family policies from a gender point of view and analyse the ways state policies influence the sphere of intimacy, reflecting economic priorities and shaping attitudes and family arrangements.
The first part presents the current demographic landscape, as well as various state responses and possible strategies and measures to improve the situation, which will be critically assessed. The second part focuses on the ways specific policies, both on the EU and the Member State level, specially designed to address the demographic concerns via the adoption of work-life-balance measures, may produce gendered and unintended outcomes. It provides an overview of family policies aimed at increasing fertility in different Member States, analyses their rationale and evaluates them as to their effectiveness and interconnectedness with other welfare and economic policies through the lens of gender. Finally, in light of the above, policy recommendations and effective best practices may provide useful insights and criteria for refining future implementation and policy-design on the EU and Member State levels.
The study concluded by stressing the need to ‘complement demographic policies by other policy interventions (including employment, family, human resource, integration of migrants among others139)’ in order to be efficient but also not to jeopardise the improvements of the recent years in terms of gender equality. ‘Thinking of men and women as both workers and carers will improve gender equality both at home and at work. Policies need to be seen as part of the broader economic and social landscape and in the interrelation of family policies with other areas of the welfare state.’ Unless leave-related policies are not accompanied by the parallel formal provision of services, their effectiveness will be limited.