This Valentine’s Day, Give Her the Gift of Sharing the Load Equally Everyday

Men possess the ability to do housework but lack the willingness to help the spouse merely because their perception of gender and the roles entailed clouds their perception.

Men and housework are two words that often struggle to fit in the same sentence – at least in the desired manner. Most often, the stories we hear feature husbands who disappear when the baby needs a diaper change or comfortably gets on a call when the laundry needs to be done. 

During the nation-wide lockdown, I suddenly saw men talk about washing vessels, mopping the floor or doing laundry with a sense of pride. But as normalcy returned, the shine of contribution was gone and the dark shadow returned over household tasks.  As a recent survey by the detergent brand Ariel showed, 7 out of /10* Indian women stated that their partners helped with chores during the lockdown but stopped it later. 

Despite that gloomy halo, relationships that go beyond the basics of the rulebook and break archaic gender roles are laudable. Now imagine, a husband who is a better biryani chef than his wife or the only proven expert to pacify the crying baby; a wife who drives the sedan better in peak traffic hours or can file IT returns with precision.

I genuinely enjoy listening to such impressive stories where couples have begun dividing household tasks devoid of the influence of stereotypical gender roles . In reality, they embrace equality in their relationship which makes the gender biases invisible under the shared roof. 

From mine & yours to ours

Janani, a close friend, told me about the time her husband Anand’s parents visited them last month. On a Saturday morning, her mother-in-law was shocked to find her son doing the laundry. Initially, her reaction watching Anand near the washing machine made Janani extremely nervous as she was cooking in the kitchen. So, she hurried to take over from Anand and save the day. Then she heard him say, “Listen, Mom. We divide the housework, and it works perfectly well. Janani is already doing a lot and needs rest on weekends. I must say that Janani’s tale gave me a glimmer of hope! 

I was absolutely thrilled when I heard about another friend Remya’s experience on similar lines. Remya had just taken up a challenging new role at work and was struggling to keep up with growing expectations. But her husband Sahil knew exactly how to ease the transition. It was good to listen to Remya say, “Nowadays I work almost 12 hours a day – there was no way I was going to manage the kitchen duties. I didn’t even ask. But Sahil jumped right into it from shopping for groceries, giving instructions to the cook to getting the lunch boxes packed.” 

I could gauge the excitement in her voice. That’s how it should be. Sharing the household responsibility should be a norm and not an exception. Most men have done their laundry or cleaning during their hostel life or bachelor days and hence they should continue doing so and not let it become  a lost art after marriage with gender bias setting in! 

A broken promise 

Ariel’s recent edition of the #Sharetheload campaign brings forth a truly forgotten dimension.  Men possess the ability to do housework but lack the willingness to help the spouse merely because their perception of gender and the roles entailed clouds their perception. It raises a valid question on how men struggle to see their life partner as equal and the influential role played by gender bias.

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Research by Ariel states that 73%* men agreed that they did their share of household chores when they stayed with other men or roommates. Sadly, the same research also showed that 83% of women feel men don’t see them as an equal when it comes to housework. Despite promising to share a life together- a great majority of women have been let down every single day.

In collaboration with Ariel

Over the last 7 years, Ariel India has continuously sparked conversations around the unequal division of domestic chores within households and urging more and more men to #ShareTheLoad.

So dear Fellas, stop searching the world for the best gift to give your loved one – it’s right in your home. Drop that TV remote and pick up the conversation on how you can Share the load in the house. And most definitely don’t wait to be summoned – rather, do your bit and don’t consider it as a ‘help’ – after all, it is your own home and chores your joint responsibility! The gift of everyday equality in housework would score more than any gift …. So what’s the best gift for Valentine’s Day… henceforth every day  love equal… live equal … see equal and #ShareTheLoad!! 

Image courtesy: Ariel

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About the Author

Aarthee Suriyakumar

Electrical engineer turned into Marketer. From heartland of Tamilnadu but almost Mumbaikaar. read more...

26 Posts | 60,869 Views

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