When the nationwide lockdown began in March, many saw it as a great opportunity to be more productive, perhaps learn a new skill or finally manage some ‘me time’. ‘Unprecedented’ as this period of quarantine has been described, perhaps what we were all unprepared for was how much it would make us explore our inner world of home, chores, relationships and responsibilities. Three months on, and, you don’t have to look further than your social media feed to see that the most celebrated skills during this time, have instead, been the most basic ones – doing the laundry, cooking, cleaning and shopping for essentials.
Looking inwards for long lasting change
As we retreated to self-isolate ourselves, we were faced with the enormity of daily chores and never-ending mental checklists to manage work and home, from home. One thing was clear – the ways of our lives pre-lockdown could not continue. Something had to give. It was time for the men in the household to step up and #ShareTheLoad. Fathers, brothers, husbands coming forward and contributing towards essentials tasks such as doing the laundry, sorting clothes, loading up the washing machine and then drying clothes.
Five years of leading societal change
In 2015, Ariel first sparked the need for this societal change with their #ShareTheLoad campaign which boldly asked, ‘is laundry only a woman’s job?’. After highlighting this unequal division of domestic chores, they delved deeper with their ‘Dads #ShareTheLoad’ movement. If children grow up witnessing inequality at home, they are likely to imbibe that behaviour and pass it on to the next generation, this was at the heart of the movement in 2016. Last year’s ‘Sons #ShareTheLoad’ campaign explored another facet of this equation at home – are mothers teaching their sons what they instinctively teach their daughters? This year, the brand focused on the impact that such inequality in division of chores was having on the wife’s well-being and addressed husbands directly by asking them to #ShareTheLoad for Equal Sleep.
During these months of the lockdown, Ariel’s message and mission have found deep resonance with families. With sons, fathers and husbands stepping up to #ShareTheLoad, what the brand has witnessed is that this hands-on involvement has resulted in a happier environment at home, much needed during this pandemic. Which is why, through their latest video, Ariel urges men of the household to continue to #ShareTheLoad, for what we learn in these times of crisis is bound to help us in times of comfort. The video is both a throwback to key moments from leading this movement over the past five years, and a nudge to continue down this path of change.
As Sharat Verma, CMO, P&G India and Head, Fabric Care Indian Subcontinent, points out, “The recent times have been challenging and unlike anything we have seen before. But crisis is a great teacher. Today, more men are actively participating in household chores than ever before, and have probably realised through first-hand experience, the amount of effort and time it takes to balance work and household chores. We believe there is something beautiful when a son, father, or husband comes forward to #ShareTheLoad. Which is why, over the past five years, Ariel has continued to raise pertinent conversations to encourage more and more men to participate in household chores. This film urges all men to continue to #ShareTheLoad. It also recognises those who are leading the way in being equal partners and setting an example for all of us!!”
Change is in our hands
With a message so deeply intrinsic to our well-being, it is no surprise to see Ariel join forces with Thrive Global India, whose mission it is to end the stress and burnout epidemic in India. Now that we are seeing the results of what happens when we #ShareTheLoad at home, it is entirely up to us to continue down this path and carry forward the learnings from this time of crisis.