International Observance: Find balance on Day of Families

“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.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 2012

Photo in public domainTUESDAY, MAY 15: The subject lurks in the pages of nearly every glossy magazine these days, in Web forums and chatrooms—even at your local Starbucks: the exhaustless topic of work-family balance. The related phrase, “work life balance,” appears on more than 50 million Web pages, according to Google. This week, Time magazine explores the theme in a cover story headlined: “Are You Mom Enough?”

Today, the International Day of Families encourages families and community leaders to freshly discuss this all-important topic that affects billions around the world—especially, as Time points out, women and children.

UN International Day of Families background materials explain: “Globally, 52 percent of women are in the labor market with over half of mothers across the OECD countries in the labor force before their child reaches 3 years of age. In addition to care for young children, famlies face multiple obligations, such as caring for older relatives, family members with disabilities or young people who tend to leave their families later in life. Consequently, employed parents often experience escalating family responsibilities to several generations at the same time.”

That’s why, the UN organizers argue: “It is important to share knowledge about good practices in work-family balance being implemented and adocated for by governments, private sector, civil society and academic institutions. … Wide-ranging consultation and partnerships between employers, trade unions and employees to promote better understanding of the importance of work-family reconciliation is strongly encouraged to improve the well-being of families worldwide.”

Care to read more? Visit the main Day of Families website and download a free PDF of the entire 5-page backgorund paper.

Families are so important to building stable societies that the United Nations General Assembly announced a resolution for a day dedicated to families in 1993. For anyone in New York able to attend a UN panel discussion today, the topics will include: trends affecting family-work balance; the impact of work pressures on family life; the need for quality childcare; and the role of governments and civil society on work-family balance policies and programs.

The best time to strengthen family bond starts—well—today! Try an idea from FamilyFun (a division of Disney), the U.S. Government’s Let’s Move initiative, or even’s list of 101 Family Home Evening Activities.

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