Towards a Better Work-Family Balance in the GCC

Panel Discussion
Topic: Wellbeing, Work
Time: March 30, 2015, 08:00-13:30
Location: QNRF, Tornado Tower, Doha Qatar
Add to calendar 2015-03-30 08:00:00 2015-03-30 13:30:00 UTC Towards a Better Work-Family Balance in the GCC Tornado Tower, Ad-Dauha, Katar

Highlighted the importance of balancing work and family responsibilities in GCC countries, and studied the different ramifications of any work-family imbalance.

This panel discussion was based on the Institute’s mission of making family-related issues a top priority for policy-makers and introduces them at the national, regional and international levels. This Panel discussion was the first event within DIFI’s program on family-related policies in GCC countries.

Goals:

  • Map relevant and adequate policies for helping active heads of households strike a balance between work and family responsibilities in GCC countries.
  • Extend the debate on reconciling work and family responsibilities and stress that the issue is not related to women only.
  • Identify the impacts of the imbalance between work and family responsibilities on individuals, family and society.
  • Identify the impacts of the imbalance between work and family responsibilities on employing institutions.
  • Identify the impacts of the imbalance between work and family responsibilities on the state economy.
  • Introduce a number of regional and international policies and practices to support working heads of households strike a balance between work and family responsibilities.
  • Propose policies and measures necessary to support working heads of households in GCC countries strike a better balance between work and family responsibilities.

Topics of the Panel discussion

  • Mapping the current work-family balance policies in the GCC.
  • Balancing work and family responsibilities – Is it an issue for women only?
  • The impact of work-family imbalance on individuals, family and society.
  • The impact of work-family imbalance at the institutional level.
  • The impact of work-family imbalance on the state economy.
  • Reviewing prominent international practices and how to use them.

Context

Since its inception, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has attached a special interest to the balance between work and family responsibilities. In 1919, ILO issued the Maternity Protection Convention (no. 3) – and the subsequent revisions in 1952 and 2000 – which included a set of measures on maternity leave, cash benefits, breastfeeding periods and reduction of working hours. ILO also issued Convention no. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities (1981), which covered a number of measures to strike a balance between work and family responsibilities.

The United Nations’ Preparatory Agenda for the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014 devoted special importance to the issue of balance between work and family responsibilities. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution no. 29 of 2011 – and the following UN resolutions by the General Assembly and ECOSOC – defined three themes to guide the preparations for this anniversary, including the theme of “ensuring work-family balance”.

DIFI, in the framework of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, organized an international conference under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, under the theme: “Empowering Families: A Pathway to Development”. The two-day conference, held on 16-17 April 2014, announced the Doha Call to Action, calling on governments to enable families to contribute to development by taking concrete actions, including “adopting policies to ensure work-family balance, so that the responsibilities of parenting and maintaining families do not fall primarily on women, and collaborating with the private sector to protect and support workers with family responsibilities.”

In addition Doha Call to Action 2014, DIFI concerned itself with the issue of the balance between work and family responsibilities since its inception in 2006. The Institute, inter alia, held in collaboration with ILO and the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organisation the “Doha Forum on Decent Work and Poverty Reduction in Doha” on October 2011 and highlighted the issue of work-family balance. In February 2012, the Institute organized a panel discussion entitled “Protecting the Arab Family from Poverty: Employment, Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity” during a meeting of the United Nations Commission for Social Development at the UN Headquarters in New York. As part of the preparations to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, DIFI held an expert meeting on “Poverty, Work-Family Balance and Intergenerational Solidarity” in June 2012 in Brussels, and another expert meeting on “Protecting the Arab Family from Poverty: Employment, Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity” in Doha in June 2013. The recommendations from these two meetings stressed the importance of adopting policies and programs to support the balance between work and family responsibilities.

Agenda