Women around the world tend to take on the bulk of unpaid labor, which includes child care and household work — so some men are using selfies to highlight this issue amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
UN Women’s HeForShe movement launched the #HeForSheAtHome campaign on Apr. 15 to invite men to share how they are stepping up to do their equal share of housework.
Emma Watson first introduced the HeForShe gender equality solidarity movement in 2014. Since then, the campaign has worked to hold all genders accountable for combating harmful stereotypes and behaviors.
The new hashtag campaign "aims to highlight the unfair burden on women," UN Women wrote in a tweet. Men are encouraged to share how they’re helping out via email or by tagging @HeForShe and using the hashtag #HeForSheAtHome on social media.
The coronavirus pandemic is bringing gender inequalities to the forefront as families are urged to stay at home to flatten the curve. Women are usually held more responsible for household chores, child care, and looking after the sick or elderly. Now the crisis presents a greater challenge as they juggle much of this unpaid labor, while also working from home to practice social distancing.
Narcos actor Michael Stahl-David is one of the men who submitted a photo of himself for the #HeForSheAtHome campaign and wrote in the caption that he’s been doing a lot of cooking and dishwashing.
"I was lucky to be raised in a family where chores were shared," he said. "But @heforshe reminded me that globally, women still do the majority of the work around the house. So calling on men to step up and do their part."
Stahl-David also asked men to comment on the photo with their favorite ways to help around the house.
Other men submitted photos of themselves loading the dishwasher and baking bread.
The campaign also promoted a checklist to make splitting chores easier and an informative graphic incentivizing housework through health benefits.
Women’s unpaid labor supports families and economies, but is rarely recognized as valuable work. Women do three times the amount of unpaid care work at home as men, which leaves less time for paid labor, and amounts to more paid and unpaid work overall.
Policies that promote equal distribution of household labor are crucial to speeding up women’s economic empowerment efforts, according to UN Women.