It’s not exactly breaking news that women and housework go hand-in-hand, while men and chores can, quite often, go their separate ways.
Ariel India (a washing machine company, owned by Procter & Gamble) released a commercial created by BBDO India, kicking off the #SharetheLoad campaign. Not only did the video make a statement on its own, but after Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg shared the clip, it went very viral. With more than 7 million views on Sandberg’s Facebook page alone, the video is showing the world that housework doesn’t equal woman’s work.
According to the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (Hilda) Survey, in homes where both partners work outside of the home, women spend on average 21.5 hours each week on household chores and men spend 17.5. Sound bad? It gets worse. This number doesn’t even include childcare hours. With the obvious imbalance between female and male household roles one Indian laundry detergent company stepped in and put the issue in the forefront.
A father watches his grown-up little girl juggling dinner, cleaning and caring for her child as he and her husband sit by doing little. He says, “You used to play house. And now you manage your own house and your office.” Leaving his thoughts in letter (which is narrated) to his daughter, this dad realizes the profound affect that society has on the idea that housework is for women only. From teaching our daughters to serve to teaching our sons to be served, we see a clear message that when it comes to the home, mum is on duty 24-7.
Sandberg says of the video on her Facebook page, “This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen – showing how stereotypes hurt all of us and are passed from generation to generation.” She goes on to say, “When little girls and boys play house they model their parents’ behavior, this doesn’t just impact their childhood games, it shapes their long-term dreams.”
Through the #SharetheLoad campaign there’s hope that men can take on a new, and undeniably equal role at home and it can start with you! Watch the video as a family and talk to your children about gender roles and encourage them to ‘share the load’ during pretend play scenes. Ask dad to shoulder his fair share of the load around the house, and make sure that the kids know he’s all in for helping out. Not only will you have less on your shoulders, but the next generation will grow up knowing that housework isn’t just for mums.