“The clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.” – Simone de Beauvoir
There’s a reason why cleaning the house, doing laundry, and all other home organization activity are all called chores. Because they’re strenuous, repetitive, and it takes toll on not only one person’s physical but also emotional well-being. Let’s admit it, doing the menial yet exhausting household chores is a burden, and no one really wants to do it on a daily basis. Sadly, it’s 2019 and most of the household work plus childcare fall on the shoulders of women, whether married or not. There have been some changes, but traces of this cumbersome role dictated by society for decades is still very much alive. In the Philippines, this is especially true for rural areas where patriarchal structure is stringently followed.
One campaign is hoping to change this unbalanced dynamics and shake up obsolete, unjust practices. The WE-CARE (Women’s Economic Empowerment and Care) Project, implemented by Oxfam in the Philippines and its partners, sheds light on this overlooked issue with “I LABA YU,” a campaign to encourage men to share in household chores.
“The work of women is often invisible and so there is a need to resurface and recognize this issue as it limits the rights and opportunities of women. This is especially true for women living in poverty. Ang pagkukusa sa gawaing bahay ay hindi lamang nanatiling responsibilidad ng mga nasa loob ng bahay kundi responsibilidad rin ito ng ating gobyerno at ng iba’t ibang organisasyon at sektor sa lipunan,’’ said Amparo Miciano, Executive Director of PKKK, a national coalition of rural women, and a partner in the WE CARE Project.
The campaign’s goal is summarized in a four-step method called the “4Rs” to address care work overload: Recognition, Reduction, Redistribution, and Representation;
“The “4 Rs” to address disproportionate burdens on women will involve: recognizing the value of care work and shifting negative attitudes toward gender roles; reducing hours spent on care tasks; redistributing care work responsibilities equitably across all sectors in society; and ensuring carers are represented in decision- and policy-making,” said Maria Rosario Felizco, Country Director of Oxfam in the Philippines.
Share the work
This is not a call for reversal of roles. Nor is it an anti-men statement. It could be misconstrued as women not wanting to do certain duties that each person in a family is expected to fulfill. Men could also counter it by saying they work hard in the office or their daily jobs, so why should they share the work at home, when they should be resting?
But then again, many women might still feel this is unfair. Even if chores are not what society considers as “work” as in all the typical things attached to it like office, structured company, and the like, it is still, work. Unpaid at that. When women do chores, nobody blinks an eye. But if a man does a bit more than the average man in his community, he’s viewed as exceptionally helpful.
The key here is balance. If only men would care enough to pick after themselves, help out, and give consideration to their wife, then resentment could be lessened and relationship could be enhanced. Men should also keep this separate study in mind. It has found that wives are more likely to be sexually attracted to husbands who help with housework. This is attributed to women feeling less stressed over balancing work and home life, while shared responsibility also puts relationships on a more even footing. Take note: men doing housework is sexy, too!
Source: Inquirer.net, http://newsroom.ucr.edu/611