To mark International Women's Day this year, IKEA has collaborated with relationship expert Jennie Miller to bring us FiftyFifty, a game that looks to unpack the unequal division of labour in homes worldwide.
Women are still taking on a large proportion of housework and childcare, further exacerbated by the pandemic. According to recent global data from UN Women, the pandemic could wipe out 25 years worth of work towards gender equality. According to the BBC: "Even before the pandemic, it was estimated women were doing about three-quarters of the 16 billion hours of unpaid work that are done each day around the world."
We're also in the thick of what many are calling a "shecession" with the global economy at its worst since the great depression; women are being hit disproportionately in terms of unemployment, particularly those working in hospitality and retail. With nothing to do but take on more work around the house, the fight for gender equality has somewhat plateaued in recent months.
Because of these stark statistics, IKEA has decided to step in and make conversations around housework a little easier. FiftyFifty is free and accessible via the IKEA Instagram page and is now welcomed more than ever.
"In the best of times, the division of household chores can be challenging for couples and add an unnecessary level of stress. Add in-home working and homeschooling due to lockdowns, and the situation is exacerbated even further. With women still undertaking more of the basic care needs, this is causing strains in many relationships, regardless of their length or the life stage of the couple. FiftyFifty provides a pause button to help us all, regardless of gender, revaluate and re-set our home life. In many cases, an open and honest conversation is the first step to resolving imbalance", says relationship expert Jennie Miller.
Peter List, Global Head of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion at IKEA Retail, says: "We've always known that lack of equality at home has direct implications for women's economic position and undermines their potential.
"The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has amplified existing gender inequalities, and empowering women in their homes has never been more important. A third of women in the key retail markets where IKEA is present say that their careers are held back because they do more in the home than men. We owe it to them to play our part in addressing the imbalance and equally to all our customers who expect us to help make a difference beyond the walls of IKEA. Greater equality at home means greater gender equality in society".