The International Family Day is celebrated in the shadow of an unprecedented tragedy this year. We must put the family in the focus of public policy, with a special emphasis on childcare, said Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, at the round table “There is only one family” organized by IDEAS.
Special attention should be paid to the most vulnerable family members, single parents, the elderly, people with disabilities, and children. Family and family relations are going through changes, which public policies must follow by being aimed at its preservation, primarily through the establishment of systemic measures of comprehensive support and the promotion of respect, mutual understanding, and non-violent communication. In addition to intergenerational solidarity in the family, it is necessary to ensure the full availability of preschool institutions and support services in schools, support services for older members of society, strengthening the capacity of informal caregivers, marriage and family counseling centers, parenting schools, and the like. These recommendations aimed at strengthening support services and services in the community are part of the Commissioner’s special report on discrimination against the elderly and discrimination against children.
Janković emphasizes that each of us is responsible for our actions, which is why we should be aware of what we are promoting by our example because, based on that, children recognize what forms of behavior society values as desirable. The values and models that children see in the family, division of work responsibilities, intergenerational solidarity, love, attention, and tolerance are crucial not only for the child’s optimal development but also for the development of a healthy family.
The Commissioner also warns of a new negative trend in which women are blamed for endangering the family, are considered responsible for the low fertility rate, and even restricting or abolishing the right to abortion is advocated. In addition to the inadmissible threat to women’s rights, primarily to bodily integrity, the Commissioner states, such an approach is wrong because it does not address the essence of the problem. Increasing the number of children and preserving the family would be contributed significantly more by systemic measures of economic incentives and support, a more even distribution of jobs, the introduction of sex education in schools, greater availability of education, affirmative measures for youth employment, flexible forms of work for parents, as well as the provision of a network of available and efficient support services.