Following the Father’s Day celebration, Oxfam Pilipinas is recognizing and encouraging the men who step up and respond to the call for equality in doing unpaid care work with their partners, via the webinar “Usapang Gawaing Bahay sa Panahon ng Pandemya,” and the launch of the #FlexYourHouseband Challenge.
For many Filipinos, working from home has become more common in the post-pandemic “new normal”. While everyone has to adjust to this setup, a significant number of women struggle with work-life balance as much of unpaid care work continues to fall on their shoulders.
Unpaid care and domestic work include the various chores and responsibilities within a household, such as cooking, cleaning, taking care of children and the elderly, and so on.
While more men — especially those who now work from home or have lost their jobs during the pandemic — have increased the number of hours they spend each day doing care work, women are still expected to fulfill traditional gender roles by doing the bulk of care work.
Women spend more than half a day on unpaid care work
According to the 2021 National Household Care Survey, commissioned by Oxfam Pilipinas, Philippine Commission on Women and partner organizations, women spent 13 hours a day on unpaid care work compared to only 8 hours for men (when time spent on supervision of dependents is included). This survey was conducted from January to March 2021 and involved interviews with 1,177 individuals from randomly sampled households in Cagayan, Metro Manila, Masbate, Eastern Samar, Cebu, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.
“The expectation was that men would spend more time doing care work during the pandemic since many were forced to stay or work from home. However, it was noted that the bulk of unpaid care work is still being done by women, whether they are working full-time or are homemakers,” said Lot Felizco, Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director. “We are hoping that more men, especially millennials, would rise to challenge traditional social norms and embrace equality in care work.”
Women continue to carry both the mental and physical load in the home, whether or not they are full-time homemakers. This unequal distribution of care work can often lead to increased levels of stress and physical ailments such as back pain, headaches among women. It can also increase tension among couples, who are already under a lot of pressure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrating the men who respond to equality
Oxfam Pilipinas is committed to creating a positive shift in the way we see gender roles by highlighting the importance of sharing unpaid care work equally in the home. One of the action steps that Oxfam is taking is by empowering men to talk about their experiences and learnings as husbands and fathers sharing in care work at home during the pandemic. Additionally, Oxfam is launching the #FlexYourHouseband challenge to honor the men who stand for equality.
How to join the #FlexYourHouseband challenge
The challenge is inviting women to celebrate fathers, husbands, and male partners. Participating is easy:
1. Like the Oxfam Pilipinas page on Facebook
2. Look for the #FlexYourHouseband post and comment on it with a photo, short video, or screenshot of your FB post celebrating your hubby’s skills in doing chores. Plus points for the most creative and heartfelt comments!
3. Explain in your comment why you wish #SanaAll partners are like your #Houseband and how he has been helping you with unpaid care work, especially in this pandemic.
4. Tag 3 friends in your comment and don’t forget to use the hashtags #FlexYourHouseband and #CareWorkIsTeamWork
The deadline for entries is on June 25. The top 3 entries will each win an air fryer and another 5 chosen entries will each win a vacuum cleaner. The winners will be announced on July 5.
“The Usapang Gawaing Bahay sa Panahon ng Pandemya” webinar and the #FlexYourHouseband Challenge are part of our campaign to challenge gender norms and reinforce the need to share the care work responsibility across the family. We need to realize that care work is real work,” added Felizco.
Oxfam is an international confederation of 21 organizations working together with partners and local communities in 67 countries, including the Philippines to build an equal future free from poverty and injustice. #OXFAM Press Release