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Holy See urges European nations to guarantee equal access to labor market

Archbishop Janusz Urbańczyk gives voice to the Holy See's concern that women's work in the family be recognized as advancing economic development, in a speech at the OSCE.

By Lisa Zengarini

While focusing on the promotion of the equality of women and men in economic participation, States “should not fail to pay due attention to the family, the fundamental cell of society and building block of tomorrow’s economic life,” the Holy See has told the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Speaking on Tuesday at the closing session of the first preparatory meeting of the 29th OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum (EEF), the Permanent Representative of the Holy See, Archbishop Janusz Urbańczyk, recalled that work and family are “intrinsically related to the dignity and development of the human person, as well as to the improvement of society. ”

He also stressed that in their interdependence “the family ultimately has a higher value” and that “work should therefore be prudently orientated towards family."

Promoting economic development

In this context, the Vatican representative said it is also important to remember the “huge role” of women’s unpaid work, which, although not officially recognized by the formal economy, contributes “not only to every country’s economic development, but it also sustains the fundamental pillars that govern a society and a nation.”

“This," he noted, "is certainly the case for the noble and unpaid work of educating children and caring for the elderly, considering also how much the State would otherwise have to spend for these social services.”

In his statement, Archbishop Urbańczyk reiterated once again the Holy See’s support for women's economic empowerment.

"Every person, woman or man, has the right to economic initiative, and should be able to make legitimate use of their talents.”

Accordingly, he said, all OSCE States “have an obligation to guarantee fair and equal access to the labour market for all their citizens, regardless of their sex, and this should only be oriented towards the necessary qualification.”

17 February 2021, 18:00