Family Day: It is families who bear the brunt of the Covid-19

14May 2020
Editor
The Guardian
Family Day: It is families who bear the brunt of the Covid-19

Families around the world are changing, many becoming smaller, as the number of single-parent households grows. Currently, 65 per cent of all families are made up of either couples living with children of any age, or couples living with both children and extended family members,-

-such as grandparents. The diminishing number of extended families and the increasing number of single-parent families put into sharp focus the issue of social protection.

During the 1980's, the United Nations began focusing attention on issues related to the family. In 1983, based on the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission for Social Development in its resolution on the Role of the family in the development process requested the Secretary-General to enhance awareness among decision makers and the public of the problems and needs of the family, as well as of effective ways of meeting those needs.

The 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.

The International Day of Families is observed on the 15th of May every year. The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families. The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

In human society, a family is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognised birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society. Ideally, families would offer predictability, structure, and safety as members mature and participate in the community. In most societies, it is within families that children acquire socialisation for life outside the family. Additionally, as the basic unit for meeting the basic needs of its members, it provides a sense of boundaries for performing tasks in a safe environment, ideally builds a person into a functional adult, transmits culture, and ensures continuity of humankind with precedents of knowledge.

Members of the immediate family may include spouses, parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. Members of the extended family may include aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, nieces, and siblings-in-law. Sometimes these are also considered members of the immediate family.

The term blended family or stepfamily describes families with mixed parents: one or both parents remarried, bringing children of the former family into the new family.

Tanzania is a multilingual country. There are many languages spoken in the country, but no one language is spoken natively by a majority or a large plurality of the population.