Members’ section
Sign in
Personal identifiers

Equinet - European network of equality bodies

Home >> Equinet Activities >> Events >> Work-Life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood-related Discrimination

Work-Life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood-related Discrimination

July 7th 2015

On 1-2 July, Equinet and the Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner of Estonia hosted the Equinet Seminar ‘Work-Life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood related Discrimination’ in Tallinn.


Equinet’s Seminar ‘Work-Life Balance and Pregnancy Related Discrimination’ was the follow up to Equinet’s Perspective ‘Equality Bodies Promoting a Better Work-Life Balance For All’ issued in 2013. The seminar drew its focus from the work of Equality Bodies and Equinet related to work-life balance and pregnancy/parenthood-related discrimination.


  • To facilitate exchange of knowledge and working experiences of equality bodies in relation to the field of work-life balance and pregnancy/parenthood-related discrimination. This exchange included facilitated discussions on the future developments needed in the work of equality bodies and in their national contexts related to work-life balance and discrimination based on pregnancy/parenthood.
  • To share examples of good practices and successful methods for addressing the issues of pregnancy-related discrimination and absence of work-life balance measures with particular focus on the engagement with employers in promoting work-life balance, achieving legal remedies for victims of discrimination and raising public awareness on the issue in their national contexts.
  • To advance strategical thinking among the representatives of national equality bodies on how to improve their work on the issue and how to collaborate with national stakeholders in order to achieve legal and policy developments related to this issue in their national contexts
  • To share examples of policy and legal challenges faced when giving support to the victims of discrimination in the workplace related to grounds of gender, pregnancy, family status and access to statutory leave arrangements

The capacity-building activities also aimed at informing the participants about current changes in:

  • Legislative and policy framework dealing with pregnancy related discrimination, gender discrimination in the workplace and work-life balance on national and European level. Indeed, the European Commission gave us up to the minute news to say that the Maternity Leave Directive was no longer on the table and that they would be interested in getting Equinet and equality bodies’ feedback on what a possible new strategy/directive/initiative could look like.

The seminar featured presentations by eminent external speakers and experts of equality bodies as well as interactive workshop sessions.

Seminar Booklet
Seminar Booklet
Seminar Summary
Seminar Summary

Speakers’ Presentations


  • Opening address (Evelyn Collins, Chair of Equinet, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland)
  • Welcome address (Mari-Liis Sepper, Equinet Board member, Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner of Estonia)
  • The work of equality bodies - findings from the Equinet Perspective (Niall Crowley, Equinet Board Adviser, independent equality and diversity expert)

SESSION 1 - Discrimination

Chair: Evelyn Collins, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland

SESSION 2 - Workshops on Discrimination

SESSION 3 - Promoting Change

Chair: Anne Gaspard, Equinet Secretariat

SESSION 4 - Workshops on Promoting Change

SESSION 5 - Workplace Practice

Chair: Theresa Hammer, Moderator of Equinet Gender Equality Working Group, Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment)

SESSION 6 - Workshops on Workplace Practice


  • Anne Gaspard, Executive Director, Equinet Secretariat
  • Mari-Liis Sepper, Equinet Board Member, Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner of Estonia


Work-life Balance and Pregnancy and Parenthood-Related Discrimination