The project ‘Towards gender equality through increased capabilities for work-life balance, (WoBaCa) is coordinated by the Office of the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner in Estonia. The project is co-financed by the European Commission.
The aim of the project is to promote gender equality and increase the capacity of women and men to balance their work-life by developing a number of innovative and interactive tools. These tools help to increase equality by improving everyday practical skills, changing attitudes, and reducing gender stereotypes.
One of these innovative tools is a strategic learning game, with both a physical board game and a digital version of the game having been developed. The game is based on an analysis of the aspects hampering the achievement of a balance between the Commissioner’s work-life and the practices negatively affecting the balance. The learning game is designed for use in schools, workplaces and by the general public. The learning game is used in parallel with a series of short films. The film was produced by Kuukulgur Film.
Project output is a series of guidelines supporting balance between work-life: for people with family responsibilities, their co-workers, the management of an organisation or company, local government, educational institutions, policy makers, contractors and employees, and easily understood instructions.
The project is being implemented in cooperation with the City of Heidelberg, in Germany, and the Serbian Commissioner for Protection of Equality, who will provide valuable feedback on the use of the tools created by the project at both the national and local government levels. The third partner in the project is the Estonian Business School, whose role is to conduct methodologies and research based on behavioural sciences.
The Republic of Serbia participated in the ‘Third European Quality of Life Survey’, which compared the work-life balance in the Western Balkans. The survey found that Serbia has the highest percentage of workers who are lacking a work-life balance. This is explained by organization of work and inflexible working hours. Women perform more unpaid work than men, which is reflected in their work-life balance.
The City of Heidelberg employs exemplary practices that ensure gender equality at the local level. On 29 March 2007, the Heidelberg City Council signed the European Union Charter for Equality: ‘The European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life’. Heidelberg became the first city in Baden-Württemberg, and the second city of more than 100,000 inhabitants in Germany, to have formally approved and implemented the charter. Heidelberg was also the first city in Germany to submit a second Equality Action Plan. The plan is based on a clearly structured framework aimed at the ability to assess the development process of an attractive and gender-sensitive local government. The city of Heidelberg has experience working with students concerning issues of balance related to their work-life, which makes their experience in the implementation of the project invaluable.
The project has a duration of two years: 17 February 2020 through 16 February 2022.