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  • Writer's pictureRachel Drapper

🏠⏳ #21 | Let's get explicit

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

TL;DR Executive Summary

  • 9 households are currently trialling Fairshare’s latest beta service

  • After screening 300+ candidates, 13 meetings, and being stood up twice(!), Fairshare may have (finally) found a technical co-founder—watch this space

  • SAVE THE DATE! Fairshare will be in person at the Women of the World Festival Marketplace at the Southbank Centre on Sunday 12th March

  • Research shows that implicit decision-making entrenches traditional gender roles and responsibilities at home, and finds explicit communication to be the most powerful driver to change the division of labour


🏆 Big win

Our current beta service is working! Users have told us it is increasing their awareness and communication about chores, improving sharing, increasing task completion and helping them appreciate their partner more for their contributions at home


📊 Statistic of the month

1 in 9 stay at home parents in the UK are now fathers, up from 1 in 14 in 2019. Between July and September 2022, 141k fathers were not in paid employment and stayed at home, whereas 1.2 million mothers were out of the workforce due to family reasons in the same period

Source: ONS, reported in The Guardian


📢 Updates

2023 is well underway and there have been some exciting developments for Fairshare:

  • We completed our first pilot of the latest service idea, and have progressed our second pilot

  • Fairshare is very excited for its first in-person presence at the Women of the World Marketplace at the Southbank Centre in London on Sunday 12th March

  • Fairshare made a number of applications to accelerators in January—unfortunately we were rejected from Antler, but we have an interview for Unrest and will be attending a Social Venture Weekend at Cambridge University in March

  • Fairshare has entered Harvard’s New Venture Competition and is in the running for a chance to win $75k of non-dilutive capital

  • This past month we have been grateful to catch up with several impressive people working in the space, including Haley Swenson of Work Life Everything, Felicia Kashevaroff of Tend Task, Laura Danger of TikTok fame, Louisa Plasberg of Equaly and many other inspiring leaders in the CareForce quarterly call

  • I have increased my time working on Fairshare to four days a week (continuing chores research with Harvard one day a week)

  • Over the next two months, Fairshare is thrilled to be doing a trial collaboration with a potential technical co-founder—watch this space for some speedier build progress updates


🔎 Learnings from the month

  • This month we dived into some research on the implicit and explicit nature of couples’ decision-making when it comes to chores

  • It found that most couples had vague expectations about how they would divide labour before they moved in together, but that these guiding principles didn't translate well into tactical ways to share housework on a daily basis

  • Furthermore, couples would anticipate, discuss and plan the division of paid work when they faced new situations such as expecting a child, but couples “scarcely discussed the future division of domestic work” (which increases significantly when families expand). Housework tended to only be discussed explicitly “when one of the partners—usually the woman—feels frustrated”

  • When couples were asked explicitly if they disagreed over the division of labour, they would often say ‘no’ or that they couldn’t remember, but when asked in a different way, the researchers found “nearly all couples had disagreements about domestic work at some point.” The researchers suggested that couples’ downplayed arguments and their seriousness to preserve the external image of their romantic relationships

  • The researchers distinguished between implicit (absent of discussion, conflict-avoidant) and explicit (deliberative, featuring proactive planning, negotiation and engagement in conflict) decision-making when it comes to the division of chores

  • The researchers were surprised to find implicit, ‘silent agreements’ to be very common even among their sample of young, modern couples. Fairshare sees this too–most couples we speak to say their division of labour ‘evolved naturally’ and they they haven’t explicitly talked before about who is responsible for what, who does what, and to what standards and frequency

  • The researchers found that traditional specialised roles at home—female homemaker, male breadwinner (in heterosexual relationships)—are agreed more quickly and spontaneously, without conversation

  • Conversely, when couples deviate from traditional gender roles to share in a more egalitarian way, more communication and decision-making is involved

  • They found that “expressing feelings openly and directly and actively negotiating conflicts can promote equality in day-to-day interactions” and “refraining from rational bargaining often leads to traditional and gendered divisions of work”

  • They also linked implicit decision-making with recurring “outbursts” and “boiling over” of frustration, usually from women

  • Overall, the research found that implicit decision-making presents “a major obstacle to changing gender roles and responsibilities in couples”, and that “the most powerful driver for changing the division of labour is explicit communication”

  • It suggested that couples who wish to achieve equality “should, as a minimum, engage in explicit decision-making until they have developed egalitarian routines”

  • The research interview process itself was also found to have a positive impact, helping both partners explain their thoughts and preferences, which led to a different decision-making dynamic, and spouses reporting higher satisfaction after a couple of months

Source: Wiesmann, Boeije, H., van Doorne-Huiskes, A., & den Dulk, L. (2008). 'Not worth mentioning': The implicit and explicit

nature of decision-making about the division of paid and domestic work. Community, Work & Family, 11(4), 341–363


📖 What we are consuming


🥅 Next month's goals

  1. Automate our current service and complete the second pilot

  2. Revamp our landing page

  3. Prepare Harvard New Venture Competition pitch

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