Does this family sound familiar?
Mom cooks dinner, does the laundry, and takes care of the kids’ mess, often after a long day at the office…
…while dad rests comfortably in his favorite spot on the sofa.
For many of us, the answer is “yes” — it could be a snapshot of a typical Tuesday in our own homes. But, come to think of it … how backward is it that this is the norm?
A new ad by an Indian laundry detergent company is drawing praise around the globe for sparking a much needed conversation about gender roles.
The ad by Ariel (which, fair warning, may necessitate a few dabs at the eyes) is narrated by an elderly father who’s visiting his adult daughter and her family. Throughout the video, he’s reflecting on how he raised her, and regretting some of his decisions — particularly when it comes to gender roles.
“Sorry on behalf of every dad who set the wrong example,” the father continues in the ad, which you can watch below.
By the end of the video, you learn that the narration is actually a letter he wrote to his daughter, apologizing for his wrongdoing and promising to do better.
“I will make a conscious effort to help your mom with the household chores,” the letter reads. “I may not become the king of the kitchen, but at least I can help out with the laundry. All these years I’ve been wrong. It’s time to set things right.”
The ad touches on an important topic that doesn’t get addressed enough: how time poverty disproportionately affects women.
We tend to overlook the critical work that needs getting done in any society in order for life to move onward, like caring for children or preparing meals. Around the world, this unpaid work is, more often than not, done by women.
The sexist double standard of time poverty — which affects women in the developing world far more than it does in North America or Europe — was a focal point of Bill and Melinda Gates’ annual letter, released earlier this week.
“Unless things change, girls today will spend hundreds of thousands more hours than boys doing unpaid work simply because society assumes it’s their responsibility,” Bill and Melinda wrote in the letter.
It’s this injustice that’s inspiring many to applaud Ariel for its ad, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
“This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen – showing how stereotypes hurt all of us and are passed from generation to generation,” she explained in a post.
It’s time we stood up to the sexist double standards that hold women back.
And it can start by just watching a two-minute video. Check out Ariel’s ad below.