Men as equal partners are essential to realizing gender equality and the 2030 Agenda. However, the road to gender equality is long and the coronavirus outbreak has added additional obstacles on our way.
While the multiple lockdowns and partial curfews successfully contained the wide-spread of the virus and avoided a detrimental health disaster in Jordan, the rate of unpaid working hours in the household has increased drastically with the closure of schools, nurseries and offices. Women shoulder a disproportionate share of unpaid care work and household tasks already and the coronavirus outbreak exacerbates this trend.
Women do most unpaid work
Women are under particular stress having to joggle home-schooling, cooking, cleaning and other household activities in addition to working the expected hours in their paid jobs from home. These additional tasks and hours of unpaid work have fallen on women due to pre-existing gender inequalities.
Figures from an internal survey at UNDP Jordan confirmed the pattern also among UN staff members. The survey showed that women employees spend much more time on household chores and homeschooling than men employees. It also highlights the fact that despite the disproportionate numbers, a majority of men believe that daily tasks are actually equally shared within their households. Nevertheless, global and local statistics tell us another truth.
Gender equality starts with us
To mitigate the negative impact on the increasing stress on women managing additional hours of household tasks and caring for family members, UNDP Jordan launched a campaign that encourages men who work for UNDP to also take responsibility for household tasks and care work at home.
Under the hashtag #EqualPartnersJO, UNDP Jordan is sharing household stories of men staff members and frontline workers who are role models to other men and who can inspire a new normal. UN agencies have joined UNDP in the rollout of the #EqualPartnersJo campaign across Jordan.
Mousa Zananiri and Baker Al-Hiyari are examples of UNDP colleagues who mobilized other men to join the campaign by sharing photos and videos of daily chores like cooking, cleaning and caring for children.
“Men’s workload should not be an excuse. We are all equal partners, and we must take equal responsibility for homeschooling and other chores during the coronavirus outbreak,” says Baker. For the campaign, Baker shared his daily homeschooling routines and encouraged other colleagues to follow his example.
Mousa agrees and points to the importance of distributing daily household chores between both partners. “The family that works together stays together,” says Mousa.
Men as equal partners
The #EqualPartners campaign aspires to subvert stereotypes of gender roles at home and enhance positive domestic behaviours of men sharing households’ tasks that are traditionally attributed to women such as cooking, cleaning or homeschooling.
Join the movement in Jordan with the #EqualPartnersJO hashtag and raise awareness of gender equality during Covid-19 by sharing your pictures with us.