Basque women hit back at men's failure to do housework
Report prompts campaign to boost chore sharing in home6 March 2008
MADRID - It seems a Basque woman's work is never done. According to figures from the regional government, 70 percent of household chores are carried out by women in the Basque Country, including the task of taking care of older relatives. In response, the Basque Women's Institute (Emakunde) announced yesterday that it will focus its campaign prior to International Women's Day, to be celebrated on8 March, on promoting a fairer distribution of housework in the home between men and women.
According to the president of Emakunde, Izaskun Moyua, speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, the high responsibility that women in the region have for carrying out domestic tasks is leading to inequality in the labour market.
"Basque women are at a disadvantage compared with men," Moyua said, "and this is something we have to work on, because the current situation, which is just as harmful to women as it is to men, needs to be changed. Women don't have the same opportunities when it comes to joining the labour market, nor when it comes to staying in their jobs, or with career promotions."
In order to combat the problem, Moyua announced an advertising campaign to raise awareness on the issue, via 5,000 posters carrying the slogan: "Giving me a hand is not enough - we must share the responsibility equally."
Emakunde will also take advantage of the upcoming International Women's Day to encourage reflection on the sharing of responsibility between men and women, both in the private and the public arenas.
The institute will demand that public bodies implement measures to work toward these goals, that companies introduce schemes to improve the work-life balance, and that men make an effort to take on at least half of the chores carried out in the home.
"The current patriarchal system gives men a series of privileges, such as the fact that they are cared for by the women that surround them," said Moyua. "But it is also true that men are subject to gender stereotyping that is very harmful to them - that takes away their opportunity to take care of the people that surround them."
[Copyright EL PAÍS 2008]