Gender balance is not just a workplace issue
During lockdown women assumed a lions share of domestic responsibilities. Dorothy Dalton spoke to Ian Dinwiddy about sharing the load and keeping the peace
One of the things that stood out form COVID19 and lock down was women assuming greater responsibilities for household work, childcare and home schooling. This was a concept I struggled with, so I invited Ian Dinwiddy, Founder Inspiring Dads to join me in an online discussion on how to share the load and keep the peace.
What could be going on? How in the 21st century could this be happening? Gender balance is not just a workplace issue.
Research from the UN from 18 countries confirms what we had suspected all along: women are doing the bulk of the work needed to keep households running – often while juggling professional work. A poll from the New York Times also told us that nearly 50% of men say that they do most of the home schooling, but only 3% of women agree! Men are overestimating their contribution.
Frequently we relate to men’s involvement domestically as “helping”. The word “help” strongly suggests that domestic work is not their core responsibility and when a man steps in, it’s some sort of bonus. They frequently “baby sit” when they take care of the kids rather than assume their parental responsibility and pulling their weight.
COVID and housework
These are some stats I put together:
Women doing all the work is a situation I struggle with in a modern environment, I spoke to many women during lockdown either individually and in groups and the reasons that women gave me for this happening were as follows:
- It’s quicker to do it myself
- It’s all in my head – I have to explain it
- He doesn’t anticipate or think ahead
- The kids always come to me
- He doesn’t do a good enough job
- I earn less than my partner
Ian gives some amazing insights on how being an engaged partner and father enriches a man’s life and helps over come their fear of being seen to be not to be committed to their careers. His focus is that men being involved in domestic work should no longer be an option – but part of a man’s every day life. He talks about creating a “family sustainability plan.” It’s no longer just cute for a man to be able to take care of his children. It is a vital part of every day life.
It’s important Ian maintains for women to let go of a need to control and let their partners make mistakes. He said “You only forget the nappies (diapers) once”
What we covered
We covered everything from:
- perfectionism – it’s OK to make mistakes and learn from them
- letting go the need for control – nothing bad will happen
- applying workplace project management principles to the home, identifying tasks, creating job descriptions and schedules
- maintaining intimacy and constructive communication
- overcoming boundary issues
- men being a permanent part of the solution rather than being allowed to opt in (helping) or usually opting out
- creating goals and vision as a couple or even a family
And so much more…
There are so many nuggets of wisdom here for both men and women
Take away thought from Ian Dinwiddy: “You only forget the nappies (diapers) once”
If you are struggling with sharing the load in your household – get in touch NOW! You can’t come at new problems with an old mindset.