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Glossary and definition of words relating to child policy, children, families and practices and programmes focused on children in Europe

Unfamiliar with a term or acronym you have seen on this site? The glossary explains some of the jargon.

Barcelona targets for childcare provision Choose translations of the previous link 

In 2002, at the Barcelona Summit, the European Council (heads of state or government of the EU Member States) set the targets of providing childcare by 2010 to at least 33% of children under three years of age and to at least 90% of children between three years old and the mandatory school age. The European Council's goal is to raise the labour force participation of women and contribute to attaining full employment.

Child poverty rate

Child poverty is defined as the percentage of children aged 0-17 years living in households with a disposable income below 60% of the national median. Both household and national median incomes are equivalised, i.e. adjusted to account for variation in household size and composition.

Europe 2020 strategy

In March 2010 the European Commission launched the Europe 2020 Strategy for sustainable growth and jobs. ‘Europe 2020’ aims to deliver high levels of employment and productivity while addressing key social issues such as poverty and exclusion and the ageing population. To ensure the EU member states’ commitment to the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Commission has set down five quantitative targets to be adapted at national level:

  • Raising the employment rate of the population aged 20-64 from the current 69% to 75%;
  • Raising the investment in R&D to 3% of the EU’s GDP;
  • Meeting the EU’s 2020 objectives to cut greenhouse gas emission by 20% and source 20% of its energy needs from renewable sources;
  • Reducing the share of early school leavers from the current 15% to under 10% and making sure that at least 40% of youngsters have a degree or a diploma;
  • Reducing the number of Europeans living below the poverty line by 25%, lifting 20 million out of poverty from the current 80 million.

Fertility rate

The total fertility rate of a population is the mean number of children that would be born alive to a woman during her lifetime if she were to pass through her childbearing years conforming to the fertility rates by age of a given year. In developed countries, a fertility rate of 2.1 will ensure that generations are fully replaced, but the total population may grow even with fertility rates below the replacement level as a result of increasing life expectancy or net immigration.

Gender equality

Gender equality refers to equality between women and men with respect to their treatment, opportunities, and economic and social achievements. The concept is often viewed in relation to the workplace and labour organisations.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is the difference between men’s and women’s average hourly earnings for the economy as a whole.

Lisbon agenda female employment target

In 2000, the European Council in Lisbon launched the "Lisbon Strategy" aimed at making the EU the most competitive economy in the world and achieving full employment by 2010. The specific targets set with regard to employment were to raise the overall employment rate above 70% and the female employment rate above 60% by 2010.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave is a period of time taken off work by an expectant mother to cover the birth of her child. The leave period commences some time before the birth and ends some weeks afterwards, when the mother returns to work.

Parental leave

In the EU context, parental leave is defined as an individual right to leave for men and women workers on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child, to enable them to take care of that child, for at least three months. The right should be available until the child reaches a given age, up to eight years, to be defined by EU Member States and/or the social partners.

Social benefits in the family/children functionpdf

The family/children function includes benefits that:

  • provide financial support to households for bringing up children;
  • provide financial assistance to people who support relatives other than children;
  • provide social services specifically designed to assist and protect the family, particularly children.