Scrubbing the breakfast pots, doing the shopping and remembering a day later that they missed buying paprika, picking up the hanging clothes, changing the roll of toilet paper… Domestic chores are still, for the most part, something that women do. According to one of the latest reports from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in Spain women spend more than twice as many hours on these tasks as men (five and two, respectively). With this context, this Tuesday the Ministry of Equality has advanced that it is working on an application that will measure how much time each person in a house spends doing that job. It has not yet been developed and the process is now in bidding to see which company will get the project. But they hope that it can be available for this summer.
Ángela Rodríguez, the Secretary of State for Equality, explained this Tuesday in Geneva (Switzerland), where a large government delegation, headed by Rodríguez, presented before the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) the IX report that includes the advances in the rights of women in Spain in recent years. From there she has explained that this idea is based on the co-responsible plan, one of the Government’s projects so that equality also reaches the field of care.
The Secretary of State has recalled that “co-responsibility in care and also the effective distribution within the homes” is still not equitable. “Women spend more time on housework than men”, she added. For this reason, the idea is to create an application so that the time that each person dedicates to these tasks can be counted and that Rodríguez has compared to those used to distribute the expenses of a trip, in which several users have a common group. and they write down what each one is spending on gasoline, drinks or food, for example. At the end of the trip, the application does the accounting and distributes how much each one owes to the others.
And it will not only aim to measure time in the couple’s environment. Also, Rodríguez has said, in entire families, for example: “We think that it is an exercise that can be done at home to distribute, among sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, or who live with other roommates or life , where sometimes there are also unequal distributions”.
For this to be real in practice, Rodríguez has qualified that “we will have to be bold and intelligent in the type of tasks we do”, referring to the many sometimes invisible issues that also require time, in addition to the so-called mental load -the daily effort to remember and take care of what we call little things. The Secretary of State has given the example of cleaning up the kitchen, “which can take 20 minutes”, but for which someone has previously had to take care that “there is soap to wash or they have to have planned the shopping basket” .
The announcement was just one of the dozens of questions that, for more than five hours, the Spanish delegation —formed by members of the Ministry of Equality, Interior, Justice, Social Affairs, Health and Foreign Affairs— has answered before the specialists of the committee of the UN (22 women and one man).
Since 1983, Spain has periodically submitted its feminist policies for review before the UN, before said Committee. This year, and after CEDAW was critical of Spain in 2015 for the cuts in equality that it had suffered, Rodríguez believes that they arrive “with their homework done”.
Spain, one of the countries with the most advanced laws in the world in this area, has been “applauded” for “the feminist architecture of its policies” and for the “extraordinary progress” in recent years. “You can now talk about a Spanish model,” said one of the experts. Despite these advances, there have also been issues on which the Spanish delegation has been critically questioned. Above all, in terms of access to justice and reparation for victims of sexist violence and their sons and daughters, effective compliance with the right to abortion, the situation of women in an irregular administrative situation and progress against trafficking with purposes of sexual exploitation.
Several of the experts have also asked questions about the reduction of sentences by the law of the only yes is yes and how legislation has been made regarding minors in the so-called trans law. Both Rodríguez and Victoria Rosell, a government delegate against Gender Violence, also present in Geneva, have recognized the “challenges” that Spain still faces in some areas, such as guaranteeing the right to abortion effectively for all women throughout the world. Spanish territory, and they have also argued that they hope that the latest legislative reforms will be aimed at correcting what still remains to be corrected.
After this session to present the Spanish report, the Committee —which oversees the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women— must issue a report with the observations and recommendations it has for Spain.