It is high time to change stereotypes and mentality

Ministry of Labour and Social Protection joins UN Population Fund in promoting family equality

Vital issues of family policy have been recently discussed in Minsk at the Healthy Family — Healthy Society international conference. Elena Kasko, Assistant Representative at United Nations Population Fund in Belarus, is keen to encourage change under the slogan of ‘the man to the kitchen, the woman to work’. She declares, “The law gives the father great opportunities to join in raising children; he can take maternity leave in the same way as a woman, yet only 1-2 percent do so. We need to break stereotypes, changing mentality, to encourage fathers to take on family responsibilities. Even if they only take advantage of the opportunity for a few months it will reduce the number of divorces. We need to liaise with firms to encourage them to support the project.”

Vitebsk’s Savchenko family win Best Multi-Child Family city contest
Vitebsk’s Savchenko family win Best Multi-Child Family city contest

The Deputy Chair of the National Statistical Committee of Belarus, Yelena Kukharevich, says of Belarusian families, “Last year, 84,000 couples married and 25,000 were divorced. The average age for first marriage for women is 25 years: 26 for men. Rural grooms are older and, in cities, women are older. More children are being born within marriage and about 20 percent of women aim to give birth between the ages of 35 and 40. In 2014, 118,500 children were born in Belarus: the highest indicator for the last 20 years.”

The Deputy Minister for Labour and Social Protection, Alexander Rumak, believes that population growth is linked to state social policies to protect family values and offer financial support. He underlines, “Belarusian families are being ‘encouraged’ by various allowances, benefits and social guarantees. We occupy first place among CIS countries and 25th place worldwide for having social conditions that are conducive to creating a family. Belarusians have good opportunities for marriage and birth of children.”

By Olga Kosyakova
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