Foreign Policy Blogs

International Day of Families

Today, May 15 is International Day of Families.  The day highlights the importance families play in our global world.  The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families.  The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.  The goal of the day aims at fostering equality, bringing about a fuller sharing of domestic responsibilities and employment opportunities.

In its resolution, the General Assembly also noted that the family-related provisions of the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits of the 1990s and their follow-up processes continue to provide policy guidance on ways to strengthen family-centered components of policies and programs as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development. Therefore following the resolution the year 1994 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Families. This was a response to changing social and economic structures, which have affected and still affect the structure and stability of family units in many regions of the globe. The International Day of Families has been held globally every year since 1995.

The 2012 Theme is, “Ensuring work family balance”, which places special focus on the growing demographic and socio-economic trends that continue to create changes in work and family life dynamics and balance.  Such changes have led to a higher number of working mothers, smaller families,  rapid urbanization, all which have weakened the role of the extended family, which has traditionally provided networks support in the care of both children and elderly family members.

In his message for the launch of 2012’s International Day of Families, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stated;

“This year’s International Day of Families highlights the need for work-family balance. The aim is to help workers everywhere provide for their families financially and emotionally, while also contributing to the socio-economic development of their societies.”

The role of the family plays great importance in more than our economic stability and balance, but it also plays a role in our peace and security, including the exploitation of minors and adults.   In order for the global society to see a sustainable future the role of the family must be placed as a priority on all agendas.   Therefore governments must make a commitment to see that policies and services address the shift from traditional families.  Work-family balance policies must also demonstrate not only the well-being of families and employers’ social responsibility to support families, but also seek to increase successful labor relations, employee health and well-being, promote gender equality and ensure and protect child welfare.  Many workers in informal labor sectors face not only family-unfriendly work environments, but work daily in dangerous environments that place the entire family unit in jeopardy.  Therefore the day also highlights the importance to seek global employment protection to secure better working conditions and eliminate exploitation, especially for poor working families.

As a global community it is vital that family-friendly policies are enacted that support a healthy and sustainable work-family balance, in order to ensure that individuals and families are able to provide both economically and emotionally for their dependents and members.  However while progress has been made in much of the developing world to address the importance of work-family balance, in many developing countries work and family policies are in direct conflict with a majority of development priorities.  Therefore special consideration must be made by governments and development agencies to address this gap in a manner that will continue to preserve family values and traditions, while addressing socio-economic shifts.

Families are the core of our global stability and provide the foundation for a child’s development…the stability and harmony of families across the globe is the key to a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable future for all of  our children.  Please take a moment today to remember the importance of family and appreciate the families you have been given!  Use this day to sit down with your family and see how you can better your work-family balance.

 

 

Author

Cassandra Clifford
Cassandra Clifford

Cassandra Clifford is the Founder and Executive Director of Bridge to Freedom Foundation, which works to enhance and improve the services and opportunities available to survivors of modern slavery. She holds an M.A., International Relations from Dublin City University in Ireland, as well as a B.A., Marketing and A.S., Fashion Merchandise/Marketing from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cassandra has previously worked in both the corporate and charity sector for various industries and causes, including; Child Trafficking, Learning Disabilities, Publishing, Marketing, Public Relations and Fashion. Currently Cassandra is conducting independent research on the use of rape as a weapon of war, as well as America’s Pimp Culture and its Impact on Modern Slavery. In addition to her many purists Cassandra is also working to develop a series of children’s books.

Cassandra currently resides in the Washington, D.C. metro area, where she also writes for the Examiner, as the DC Human Rights Examiner, and serves as an active leadership member of DC Stop Modern Slavery.


Areas of Focus:
Children's Rights; Human Rights; Conflict

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