Chores have no gender: EU4Gender Equality launches new ‘Look Beyond’ campaign against gender stereotypes

14-01-2021
Photo: European Union
Photo: European Union

A new campaign called ‘Look Beyond’ has been launched by the EU4Gender Equality project, seeking to encourage societies in the Eastern Partnership region to look beyond traditional masculine and feminine roles and to convince them that household chores and childcare have no gender.

Implemented jointly by UN Women and UNFPA, the campaign is taking place in the framework of the European Union-funded regional programme ‘EU 4 Gender Equality: Together against gender stereotypes and gender-based violence’.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many have found themselves unemployed, and many people are now working from home. The closing of schools and other childcare services has meanwhile dramatically increased the burden of unpaid care work on families – especially on women. The campaign aims to make sure that this burden is equally shared by both men and women.

According to a UN Women report, before the pandemic, women around the world spent 16.4 billion hours on unpaid care work every day – three times more than men, and the equivalent of 2 billion people working full eight-hour days without pay.

Research in 18 countries done by Ipsos for UN Women shows that after the pandemic began, women started spending an additional 5.2 hours per day on childcare on average, for a total of approximately 31 hours per week. By comparison, men only reported an increase of 3.5 hours, to a total of approximately 24 hours per week spent on childcare.

Men doing more unpaid care work means that women will be under much less stress, will have more time to dedicate to their professional development and will be empowered to transcend outdated gender roles in other ways. Challenging gender stereotypes within the family and encouraging men to understand and define their masculinity in different ways has also been shown to decrease the number of incidents of domestic violence, allowing women to feel safer in their own homes,” says the article on the UN Women website.

The ‘Look Beyond’ campaign not only implements serious policy initiatives, but also uses playful incentives such as an Instagram filter mini-game that randomly assigns household chores to couples using it together.

The 'EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence' programme (2020-2023) seeks to strengthen equal rights and opportunities for women and men by shifting social perceptions around gender roles, tackling gender stereotypes and increasing men’s participation in childcare and other domestic responsibilities.

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