The laundry detergent brand Ariel India has launched a campaign called #ShareTheLoad encouraging men to help in household work. It's a much-needed message: a study by the brand found that 73% of Indian women felt their husbands prioritize relaxing over helping with housework, and 2/3 of Indian women felt that an inequality exists with housework.
According to Ejaz Ghani, a U.N. economic advisor, "Despite recent economic advances, India’s gender balance for entrepreneurship remains among the lowest in the world. Improving this balance is an important step for India’s development and its achievement of greater economic growth and gender equality."
The campaign started out by engaging in the conversation and asking #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob. The conversation spiked interest and resulted in a social media challenge called "The Wash Bucket Challenge," featuring men taking photos of themselves with wash loads of laundry. The company then reached out to more men by combining the movement with sports by collaborating with beloved cricket players and making it a game. 1.5 million men joined the movement and showed support once the campaign literally disguised a basic chore with manly things they like, the way you give a dog medicine.
The company also put out a powerful commecial showing a woman who comes home after a long day of work and takes on the never-ending tasks of being a mother and running a household while her husband watches television and her father is sitting a the table. Her father takes note (though doesn't get up off his ass to help her). The father's voice is then heard via voiceover in a written apology to his daughter, saying he's sorry for the way he and generations before him raised children to believe that the women do all the work. "I am proud and I am sorry. Sorry that I never stopped you while you were playing house. I never told you that it's not your job alone, but your husband's too... But how could I say it when I never helped your mother either." He apologizes on behalf of all fathers and then pledges to do what he can to change the course, ending with, "It's time to set things right."
Ariel India first launched the conversation at Cannes Film Festival where it won the Glass Lion. You can follow the campaign and join the conversation @ArielIndia.
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Courtney Bissonette is a New York based writer and improv comedienne. She writes primarily about movies, pop cultures and feminist heroes. She gets along best with old people. She has seen more old movies than your grandma, probably. Salt from Salt n Pepa once took her Trick'r Treating. You can follow her on instagram at @gddamnitcourtney or twitter @courttette