Stay-at-home moms are humanity's unsung heroes. They have consistently worked for free around the clock to upkeep their homes and families, and provide emotional support to those around them. But with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, bandwidth has become increasingly limited among women to predominantly, if not exclusively, bear this burden of responsibility.
The overlooked challenges of domestic caregiving have long been a hot topic but become an increasingly urgent crisis in the post-lockdown era. As millions across the globe are left still juggling the aftermath of the pandemic's unprecedented public health and financial consequences, tensions surrounding the disproportionate delegation of domestic labor to women have also been magnified.
In a new documentary titled Fair Play, Eve Rodsky takes charge of this due conversation—illuminating the invisible labor of domestic women and moms, while addressing the imbalanced implicit gender roles still at play in many homes. The feature-length film—helmed by director Jennifer Siebel Newsom—is based on Rodsky's New York Times best-selling book of the same name, which draws from her Harvard education in organizational management to propose a systematic model aimed at helping couples equalize the delegation of household tasks.
The documentary is supported by Reese Witherspoon's media company, Hello Sunshine, which similarly aims to address female narratives through storytelling, and features appearances and commentary from Melinda Gates, C. Nicole Mason, and Congresswoman Katie Porter. You can watch the full trailer for the documentary above.
“This film does an incredible job of capturing the journey of real families on a mission to redefine and reframe the balance of time in the home. The successes, failures, necessary questions and conflicts are all powerfully portrayed. These are the types of hard conversations I sought to spark when I wrote Fair Play,” Rodsky tells BAZAAR.com of the film. “When the world feels so out of our control, it’s empowering to see that we have the power to make small changes that can make a huge impact outside our homes. I’m grateful for Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s stellar direction and all of the brave participants for choosing to share their stories.”
Siebel Newsom echoed the author's statement, expressing how the last two years have only magnified the imbalance of labor between men and women.
“The pandemic forced millions of women out of their jobs and careers, erasing several decades of progress for women’s participation in the workforce. That’s why there has never been a more critical time for us to address the imbalance of care work at home,” the director tells BAZAAR.com. “Despite the pandemic’s toll on women, there’s no doubt women have cemented our place in the traditionally male-dominated workforce—so why haven’t we seen a wave of men take on even greater responsibility at home? We must not continue to rely on outdated gender norms that assume women are the default for every childcare and domestic task. Fair Play lights a path forward to an equitable future where care work is seen, valued, and embraced by all genders. True gender equality starts in the home.”
Fair Play will be released in select theaters and on demand July 8, and is available for preorder now.