This year’s 25th anniversary of Copenhagen Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action comes at a time of one of the most challenging global health and social crises. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic brings into sharp focus the importance of investing in social policies protecting the most vulnerable individuals and families. It is the families who bear the brunt of the crisis, sheltering their members from harm, caring for out-of-school children and, at the same time, continuing their work responsibilities.
Families have become the hub of intergenerational interactions that support us in this crisis. Under economic duress poverty deepens. In times of uncertainty stress increases - often resulting in growing violence against women and children. That is why the support for vulnerable families - those who have lost their income, those in inadequate housing, those with young children, older persons and persons with disabilities - is imperative now more than ever.
Worldwide, women are increasingly taking part in the formal and informal labour force, while continuing to assume a disproportionate burden of the household work in comparison with men, and work-family balance is more difficult to achieve. The imperative of ensuring gender equality in the family is, therefore, gaining more attention.
As the world struggles to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a real opportunity to rethink and transform the way our economies and societies function to foster greater equality for all. In doing so, it is clear that gender equality will not be achievable without greater equality in families, and that on this, as so much else, the Beijing Platform for Action continues to provide a visionary roadmap of where we need to go.