According to the Global Home Index (2017), 90% of household chores involve cleaning, and there is still a significant equity gap between men and women – especially in Argentina – when it comes to spending time performing cleaning chores.
Per a recent study by Opinaia (“Gender Gap and House Chores” – Argentina, December 2018), women spend 50% more time cleaning the house every week, as compared to men, and only 37% of men do these activities every day. In seven out of ten households where couples live together (with or without children), women are in charge of the household chores.
Further, out of 100 women who wash the bathroom, only 66 men do; for every 100 women who do the laundry, 67 men do; out of every 100 women who clean the floors, 72 men do; out of 100 women who clean the kitchen, 74 men do…and the list goes on. There is a clear and established gender gap in the commitment to carrying out household chores in Argentine society.
Such a gender gap inspired FCB Mexico and Ayudín, a Clorox brand, to launch the “Casi un monumento” (“Almost a Monument”) campaign, to call attention to the divide that is present in the responsibilities of household chores. The campaign is also inspired by a common preconception among Argentinian men, who still think that when they do a household chore they are helping their spouses. And, as they would jokingly put it, they “deserve a monument” for their help.
Ayudín built these monuments as both an homage and a reminder of the existing gender gap. Javier Campopiano, partner and chief creative officer at FCB Mexico, explained: “While the statues representing what women do at home are complete, the statues that reflect what men do are unfinished. This expresses the exact percentage that’s still missing for them to equal women’s efforts, in order to raise awareness about this issue and work toward narrowing such a disparity.”
According to Opinaia, living in a clean environment promotes better health, well-being and improved communication among house inhabitants. Sharing household chores on an equal basis will ensure that every member – regardless of gender, age or social status – will have the same development opportunities in other aspects of their lives, particularly those related to study and personal growth.
In order to develop “Casi un monumento,” Jowy Roman – an emerging artist who champions gender equality – was invited to participate in the campaign. In Roman’s previous work, she focused on subverting the stereotype of the “tough man,” distant from household matters. Instead, she portrayed a man who is sensitive and conscious of the fact that these activities must be shared on an equal basis.
The manifestation of “Casi un monumento” was located at the Federal Republic of Brazil Square in Argentina, from April 10-14, 2019. It featured an exhibit of sculptures made by Jowy Roman and Maria Lightowler (curator) that displayed the rooms of a small house, with a couple carrying out daily chores: cleaning the floors, washing the bathrooms and doing the laundry. These scenes pointed out the unequal distribution of household chores that historically have been performed by women, to educate both men and women on how to change this imbalance in the future.
Regarding the campaign’s execution, Natalia Benincasa, group creative director at FCB Mexico, pointed out: “‘Casi un monumento’ is a campaign that seeks to bring to light a topic that we still need to understand as a society. Although men clean more today, this still does not match the time and dedication that women have spent – and continue to spend – doing these chores. Therefore, we say: ‘I won’t be able to build you a complete monument – it will be almost a monument.'”
“For Clorox, and in Argentina for Ayudín, it is critical to remember that both men and women should do the cleaning at home,” stated Elena Otero, marketing vice president at Clorox International. “Based on our motto, ‘Because clean matters, we do it together,’ our challenge was to create a space of dialogue for men and women alike. Men haven’t yet become co-responsible for doing household chores on an equal basis. We have to continue to work in order to introduce a more equitable distribution of household chores.”
In the past, women performing household chores was something taken for granted. Today, such a conception is continually being revised. This shows that society is willing to initiate a conversation, a discussion and a debate, which, per Ayudín and FCB Mexico, is something critical to ultimately effecting change.
“‘Casi un monumento’ features a couple that is conscious about this paradigm shift,” said Lightowler. “Although sharing household chores was a first step for them – and a goal to achieve – moving forward, it will be something natural for their children, both boys and girls. Hopefully, the couple can see that through their actions, they have contributed to the construction – in full – of a monument.”