Is it a ‘Manic Monday’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsmVgoXDq2w and do you ‘Want to break free’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4Mc-NYPHaQ

Well it’s the beginning of week 5 in the UK of lockdown and my mind turned to reports of how family life has changed, if at all, now that more of us are at home. Our essential workers are going out to work, but for the rest of us, it means staying at home. But have traditional roles and responsibilities changed?

I started thinking about equality in the home which is a common area for discussion, tension and debate and certainly has probably been exacerbated during lockdown for many. As we have seen traditional roles change over the years with more women entering the workplace and also returning to work after having had children, we have also seen that the lion share of home responsibilities still being done by women – so a double whammy. This has an enormous effect on women’s mental and physical resilience as they are simply worn out. Sleep and mental health are sacrificed to fit everything in. The message is women must also take care of themselves and there needs to be champions to help with this.

We have seen makeshift office areas having to be created at home, children needing entertaining and now the return of home schooling as well as trying to find suitable activities for all of the family whilst we can’t go out. But set against this background are the normal routine of household chores which have probably grown, as more people are in the house all of the time.

So, do you have positive role models where everyone is mucking in and getting things done or do most tasks fall to the same person and as research has shown in many cases this will be women?

We also despite much furore seem to have pink and blue jobs. Women are up to six times more likely to say that only they clean the bathroom and do the laundry than men are. Women are also more likely to be the ones doing jobs such as dusting (52%) and polishing surfaces (50%) compared to men.

On the flipside men are more likely than women to be the ones doing jobs outside the home, with 46% saying it’s up to them alone to take out the bins, and 42% who say they do all the gardening.

Inside the home, the most likely job to fall to the men is giving the oven a deep clean, with one in six men (17%) saying only they do this job, however women are still much more likely to say only they do this at 47%.

So set against these interesting statistics, and this does not include maintaining and organising family schedules, children’s after school activity requirements, it gives us time as we continue under lockdown for a while longer, to reflect and maybe change the status quo in the same way we continue to do in the workplace. Maybe even this period of crisis has changed the way we look at things. Homeworking which has always been a great solution to promote flexible more inclusive working practices has previously been ignored as a solution, but now had an extensive field trial.  So maybe we will see changes at a time of great personal challenge.

So if you do have for stories with positive male role models and these can be from any corner of the world, which will inspire many more to do their fair share and make sure that everyone survives this period of crisis with good mental and physical health please do share them on heforshe@unwomen.org or on social media with the tag  @HeForShe with the hashtag #HeForSheAtHome

It is important that we are all enabled and ultimately, individually be able to sing- ‘I will survive’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYkACVDFmeg

Karen Daly-Gherabi

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