EU family ministers discuss new role for men

16th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

16 May 2007, Bad Pyrmont, Germany (dpa) - European Union ministers for family affairs and gender equality began discussions Tuesday on ways to get men to take on a more active role in the family. The role of fathers in helping to raise their children and the challenge this poses to the economy was one of the issues on the agenda of the two-day meeting in the spa of Bad Pyrmont. "Young men who opt for an active role as father are often looked on as a wimp by society," said German Family Affairs Minister Urs

16 May 2007

Bad Pyrmont, Germany (dpa) - European Union ministers for family affairs and gender equality began discussions Tuesday on ways to get men to take on a more active role in the family.

The role of fathers in helping to raise their children and the challenge this poses to the economy was one of the issues on the agenda of the two-day meeting in the spa of Bad Pyrmont.

"Young men who opt for an active role as father are often looked on as a wimp by society," said German Family Affairs Minister Ursula von der Leyen ahead of the talks.

Von der Leyen urged employers to support men seeking to commit themselves to such a role. In Germany, the government provides incentives to parents taking time off work to look after their children.

"The more companies encourage their male employees to play an active role as father the more of an example this will set for other men to pluck up the courage and do the same," she said.

"Europe needs a policy that puts men and women on an equal footing so it is easier for them to combine work, family life and taking care of dependents," she said.

EU Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla called for a change of attitude by Europe's men that would lead them to taking on more responsibilities in the family.

Firms should also do more to provide more child care facilities for their employees, the Czech EU commissioner said in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

In addition to the changing role model for men in child care, the conference will also focus on equal opportunities for men and women in employment and in the family.

Other items on the agenda include women and active fathers in management positions and ways of supporting the integration of migrant women and children in society.

DPA

Subject: German news

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