The Women of Ariel by Josiah Go

I saw the video of Ariel India’s ‘Share The Load’ campaign when Inquirer’s business editor Raul Marcelo shared this in his Facebook page. It features a father apologizing to his daughter on unequal gender role where men take less responsibility at home even if both husband and wife are now working and tired when they get home.

The father-and-daughter role made me think of Tricia, my only daughter, who will take on a different role when she gets married in less than 10 months. She will move out of our house to live in a condo with her future husband, away from the comfort of many household helps. However, I am relieved knowing her fiancee has a progressive laundry business and she probably need not do as many household work so she can continue to focus on her excellent blogging career.

My youngest son Calel and Tricia’s fiancee both love to cook and experiment with food, a role traditionally reserved for women. I give credit to their moms for raising wonderful and independent-minded sons.

Fathers will always have a special place for their daughters, and when they see their daughters not having enough time to rest and spend time with her family, friends or themselves, they start wondering what they could have done to improve her situation. At least in my house, my wife and I swapped roles — Chiqui fixes the electrical works occasionally while I do the ‘supermarketing’, recently being helped more often by Calel who like to buy his special food ingredients. The ‘supermarketing’ task was my act of service years ago to allow Chiqui to gain some 70 hours extra a year to do what she loves doing – reading and her anthropological studies.

I love the Ariel’s Share The Load campaign; it is very courageous. They went beyond talking about their product and uniqueness, they went beyond conforming to traditions and stereotyping women doing the laundry. Instead, they choose to introduce an advocacy, encouraging to start a conversation, removing stigma about women not doing the laundry and asking men to get out of their comfort zone, to rediscover themselves and their indispensable role of shaping their children’s attitudes and behaviors by simply doing their share of household work, this instead of just watching TV.

Fathers must set the right example. What they do or failed to do will be followed! “More than 70% of children today believe that laundry is only a mother’s job! Ariel believes in progress and is committed towards addressing this imbalance within the household. . . and set the right example for the next generation!”, said Mr. Sharat Verma, Associate Brand Director for Fabric Care of P&G India.

Kudos to Ariel India for this game changer campaign that penetrates at an emotional level. Simply brilliant! P&G India’s campaign partner for this crusade was BBDO. It’s Chief Creative Officer Josy Paul, added
“It’s not just a campaign, it’s a movement for social change. By raising a mirror to society, the brand is seeking a better world where there’s equality within the household and hence happier households”. No wonder that since its launching on Feb. 19, 2016, it has already been seen over 28 million times in its first three weeks.

In the Philippines, Ariel has a similar albeit different slant on the gender advocacy, it’s called #AhonPinay which eliminates the boundaries on gender professional capabilities. Many times, women are given stereotyped roles; they are simply relegated to light roles supporting the male breadwinner. Among traditional Filipinos and Filipino-Chinese, many would still make women play second fiddle; fortunately, we have plenty of women role models in the Philippines, to cite as shining examples are Tessie Sy-Coson in business, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez in media, Leni Robredo in government service, among others.

It’s Women’s month this March. I live with three wonderful women – my mom, who is the epitome of unconditional love, my wife for her strength of character and my only daughter for her gentle assertiveness, for correcting my stereotyping in 2011 that new graduates like her must find an office job and not be a professional photographer and blogger. Good thing she did not listen and has a mind of her own like her mother, now I am a blogger myself and want to be like her in the marketing field. Children can affect their parent’s attitudes and behaviours as well. It’s time we pay attention to what Ariel has to say about the role of women.

For husbands, if you can give up 70 hours a year to give more personal freedom to your wife, what tasks will you be willing to take over from her?

(Thanks to Anna Legarda-Locsin, Communications Head of Procter & Gamble Philippines and Luisito Morante, ASEAN Regional Communications Manager for Fabric & Home Care of Procter & Gamble who generously accommodated my interview request)

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Josiah Go features the movers and shakers of the business world and writes about marketing, strategy, innovation, execution and entrepreneurship