Resolution adopted at the EGP Council, Ljubljana, 11-13 April 2008.
The policy of the European Greens aims at creating a new organization model for all areas of our society, so that it does not all come down to productive work, so that men and women can equally share work, family life and participation in society.
And from our point of view, this goal requires us:
• To get rid of andocentric model partiality (as only men's traditional experiences, tasks and values are recognized).
• To recognize and value women's experiences and their contribution.
• To eliminate the obstacles that women still face in order to access freely and with equal opportunities to many areas of our society.
• To seek men's commitment and that of the welfare state with people's care and domestic work.
• To acknowledge that achieving these goals could potentially transform society.
Change our time distribution
In the last thirty years women have only formally achieved equal opportunities. Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. Women have, step-by-step, accessed areas traditionally reserved to men, but not under equal conditions. Women's access to these areas has been allowed as long as the established order does not change, neither in decision-making areas (only 24.4% of managers are women) nor at home, where women work five times as much as men.
The consequence of this model, in which women perform both productive and reproductive work duties, is that women have less leisure, study and reading time (etc.), which favours the traditional role distribution: the masculine and the feminine role. Nowadays only paid work counts. Other social necessary duties are not valued and this has consequences on public policies priorities and goals. Similarly, people's life is wrapped around business interests and unnecessary long daily working schedules are perpetuated, which would not be necessary in a society with correct distribution of work and wealth. We have thus an irrational system that we dislike: we wish that duties traditionally carried out by women (people's care, tenderness and solidarity) come to the light and are valued.
Our model: We wish a system organized according to people's vital needs, in which all socially necessary duties, either paid or not, are valued; in which public or private services do not presuppose that a man brings a salary home and a woman manages it; we wish to share responsibilities and decision-making at home, at work and in politics; we wish to share wealth.
Time is an essential asset for our wellbeing. Insufficient time to deal with the great many tasks we must carry out during our everyday lives is not a private issue that can be solved individually. Lack of time is a public problem of great importance, to which public authorities should give a response: it is necessary to find a comprehensive solution that will transformed the established order.
The European Green Parties have come up with a proposal that constitutes a truly transformative solution: we are not speaking of conciliation but of reorganising living time. It is not a question of women aspiring to suffering a little less in their double or triple working day, but the whole of society taking charge of all the responsibilities that are needed by society and the planning of cities and towns being based on the right to working time, caring time, free time and participative time. Sharing all the work and access to enjoying different living times is a question of justice.
Here are some principles that guide this perspective:
1. Time is a right: people have the right to manage their own lives, including the right to work, the right to affection and in general, the right to lead a full and satisfactory life. It is necessary to find alternatives that will integrate all the living times during the entire life cycle, that take into account the joint responsibilities of women and men in all different daily tasks.
2. It is not possible to organise society based on production time: The tasks of taking care of others, free time, and social participation must be converted into rights that belong to men and women which are not penalised by society, and, on the contrary, are regarded as ways of adding value to it.
3. Everyday life, a political value: The areas and times historically reserved for women, and configured based on the ideal of “private space”, must be considered factors that generate citizenship, and a matter of political interest in a new social contract.
4. The need for cooperation: it is essential to articulate participative processes. Adapting working time and opening hours in the public and private sectors is not a proposal for liberalising working hours. Rather, we are speaking of organisation based on diversity, which implies a pact between the different sectors involved and, consequently, a participative process.
The quality of everyday life for men and women is achieved by establishing effective links between the different times that make up people’s lives:
- Individual time to study and receive instruction, time for having fun and devoting oneself to one’s passions, time for oneself and free time.
- Time for social life (in the widest sense) and time for the city
- Time for reproductive work (caring)
- Time for productive work (the market)
Until now, European conciliation policies have been mainly addressed to women, and this political perspective responds to one of the Lisbon objectives, that of achieving “full employment” for women within a certain timeframe. The European Green Party must say no to this premise, and demand a new organisation of work and time that will benefit the entire population, sharing the costs among all the agents involved. It is therefore necessary to put this issue on the table, in collaboration with the feminist movement and women’s institutes, who have been working for some time now towards finding an alternative political perspective with respect to this issue.
We are in favour of a social Europe that is not just built on what is demanded by the market, but that is also concerned with the everyday wellbeing of women and men, that puts the needs of people before the needs of the economic system and the traditional patriarchal order; and that brings out into the open all the time that we, as men and women, are entitled to and all the areas in which we hold responsibilities. We are in favour of a fair redistribution of time and work, with the objective of ensuring that each person can lead their own life with no constraints.
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