June 28, 2022
For many the path toward gender equality in the United States has never felt steeper than it does today. A years-long pandemic has destroyed precious gains women have made at work and left caregivers and parents—especially women—burnt out and desperate for support. Last week’s Supreme Court decision overturning Americans’ right to privacy in regards to abortion, despite widespread public support for Roe v. Wade, has left people across the gender spectrum wondering just what they can do to continue the march toward equality.
Research shows that the ways we divide the work at home and the larger structures, policies, and cultures that shape our lives are intertwined, and that men, in particular, play an enormous role in creating these conditions. That’s why it has never been more critical that men and others who have traditionally taken the back seat in domestic life step up into equal partnership with the women in their lives and deliberately work toward gender equality in all facets of life.
I spoke to author and researcher Kate Mangino about Equal Partners, her new book packed with research and practical advice on how couples, their families, and their communities, can do just that. Read our full conversation here, then, take the quiz we've designed with Mangino, Experiment No. 32, to find out if you're an Equal Partner!
—Haley Swenson, Better Life Lab Fellow
We’re Trying to Solve: Unfair chore and care distribution
Target Audience: Adults, Everyone
Category: Household Chores
Estimated Time: 20 minutes
Difficulty Level: Easy
- Sit down with your partner and introduce the Equal Partner concept. Mangino defines an equal partner as one who does half the physical and cognitive labor in the home; does not participate in a neo-traditional relationship (a breadwinner/caregiver model on strict traditional gender lines), and intentionally and diligently works for gender parity in their home and community. Discuss whether you both share a goal of being equal partners to one another. How do you think you're doing?
- Take the quiz! The Equal Partner questions are directed at those who have traditionally done less of physical and cognitive labor at home. If you're already doing the bulk of that work, and that's clear to everyone, this quiz isn't going to be as revelatory for you; this quiz will be more helpful for your partner, or any adult you share your life with. If you're the partner who does the labor at home less often, take the quiz while your partner is nearby, so you can ask how they feel about your answers. If you're not sure which partner is doing more, then this quiz will be helpful to both of you!
- Reflect. What did you learn about yourself or your partner from flipping through this assessment and answering Mangino's questions? Do you know what you need to work on? Do you have a common language now for talking about the challenges you may confront in the future?