Gender Equality at Home – #ShareTheLoad
I recently attended a panel discussion on gender equality at home by Ariel India. Even before my association with Ariel, I was always fond of their #ShareTheLoad ads. I saw the first one in 2015 that features a professional woman who earns more than her husband but it’s taken for granted that she will do the laundry every day at home. I was really impressed by the ad because it brought to notice a very subtle form of gender inequality that even most modern forward thinking households are still conditioned with.
Since 2015, Ariel has released a number of thought provoking videos that encourage sharing the load. They force us to think if we really truly understand and practice gender equality? Another personal favourite of mine was the ad showcased in 2018 where they raised yet another pertinent question – ‘Are we teaching our sons what we have been teaching our daughters?’
This is something I regularly discuss on my social media. As parents, it’s not enough to just harp to our daughters to stand up for gender equality. We need to practice equality and it starts from home. It includes fathers taking on more household responsibility and parents teaching their sons how to do chores at home the same way they teach their daughters.
Gender Equality at Home
While we have progressed to the stage where men and their families are very proud of the working women who are equal partners, we haven’t yet crossed the threshold on men becoming equal partners at home when it comes to chores. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen at all. If you read my blog or follow me on Instagram, then you would know that my husband and I split all responsibilities – from parenting to household chores.
I started blogging because I wanted to change how parenting is done and equal parenting is something both my husband and I feel very strongly about. From day one, our daughters have seen both of us take care of them equally. Our first daughter Karma was born in Singapore and we didn’t call our parents over to help as we wanted the initial time to bond as a family. After delivery, since I had to wake up every couple of hours to feed her during the night, Karan completely took over household chores. He worked from home for the first month, cooked all my meals, cleaned the house, did laundry and took care of Karma completely from diaper changes to baths during the day so I could catch up on my sleep. He would bring her to me only for feeds and did everything else on his own.
And that is why I loved this years ad too – It focuses on a woman’s sleep… To be more precise, the lack of it!
Sleep & Inequality?
In this season, Ariel triggered the conversation around a startling fact – 71 % women in India sleep less than their husbands due of household chores. Most women end up compromising on their rest, personal time and sleep while trying to fulfil their various roles to the best of their abilities. When men don’t share the load, a basic need like sufficient sleep gets negatively impacted for women. Lack of sleep is thus almost an indicator, of the inequality within the household. You can watch the ad here.
Yes, things have definitely improved with regards to gender equality at home but it’s still not a norm. But we can change that. Household chores aren’t that difficult and if men split the burden, it would mean happy healthy women (and men) taking of happy healthy homes.
Thanks to Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad movement, laundry has almost become the face of the change towards gender equality that they are trying to drive across the country. Over the years, the dynamic within households has surely shifted. With 79% men in 2014 who thought laundry is only a woman’s job, this number dropped to 41% in 2019. By raising a mirror to society, Ariel is leading the movement towards a better world where there’s equality within the household and hence happier families.
In fact, I’ve heard that men feel laundry is a fairly easy chore. So why not start there? Take the first step to #ShareTheLaundry and eventually, #ShareTheLoad for #EqualSleep.
This post is part of a collaboration with Ariel India but the views and opinions shared by me on the #ShareTheLoad initiative are completely my own.