Why It's So Important To #ShareTheLoad

There are a few great one word responses to the idea that "sexism doesn't exist anymore" and one of the best is: housework. It's no secret that men and women don't share housework duties equally, but now an ad from Indian laundry detergent company Ariel is calling on men to #ShareTheLoad. And it's a message our country needs to hear, too.

On the surface, it might seem like housework isn't such a big deal — but then again, maybe the reason we don't think housework matters is because it's work that historically women have been expected to do for free. On top of that is the fact that we live in a capitalist, patriarchal society where anything free or female is devalued, and, well... you do the math. The truth is that housework requires time and energy, and that time and energy are still not spent equally.

Studies show that even though men and women want egalitarian relationships, women still do more housework, spending around 13 hours per week on "household management." And it's not just because women are more likely to stay home. Studies show that unemployed men and women spend their days very differently, with women spending significantly more time on housework and childcare than unemployed men do.

All this despite the fact that splitting the chores equally seems to be good for a relationship. Couples who divide housework evenly have more sex, according to science — maybe because women aren't so exhausted after working all day and doing housework all evening.

Basically, housework might seem like a minor issue, but over the course of a lifetime, women are spending a lot of time and energy on it, time and energy we could be devoting to other things.

That's why it's awesome to see more and more calls to #ShareTheLoad, as it were. In a new ad from Indian detergent company Ariel, a father staying with his grown daughter and her family watches her caring for her husband, her child, and the household chores, all while working a job of her own, and before he leaves he writes here a letter, a letter that starts like this:

And he goes on to promise that when he goes back home, he will try to be better himself about taking on household chores. He might not be much use in the kitchen, but he can, at the very least, help out with the laundry.

It's a pretty awesome message, and people have been buzzing about it all over the world. Businesswoman and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg even shared the video with her followers:

And #ShareTheLoad has also become popular on Twitter as well.

So will it encourage more people to recognize the gender imbalance in their domestic life and inspire men to step up and #ShareTheLoad? Hopefully, but at the very least, it's sparked an important conversation.

Images: Ariel India/YouTube (8)