When women fought to enter the workplace and won, most of them continued the housework duties they had before. The tableware range aims to raise awareness of the current imbalanced division of labour, create discussion and promote all family members to assume domestic duties and therefore lighten the load the women take, to reduce this phenomena in the long run.
I collected existing kitchenware and clothes to minimise the product’s environmental footprint. I applied graphical representations of data from academic papers to the bases of crockery and surveyed local members of dual-income households to ascertain who did more housework and what household tasks they would like done. These tasks were divided into short activities and etched into cutlery handles and embroidered into placemats. The embellishments’ positioning maintains the functionality and keeps the messages hidden as a typical table setting until one uncovers them while eating. I hypothesized that the statistics would prompt the users to consider the phenomena and its implications and conclude that the current state of the division of labour is unfair. The cutlery and placemats would provide suggestions of what the user can now do to help. Despite being fairly and randomly distributed, if all family members do a suggested task the distribution of housework will automatically become lessened for the woman of the house.
The product’s aims were tested with observational data in a series of four lunches for ecological validity. Participants in all the lunches discovered the embellishments while eating, in the order crockery, cutlery then placemats. Most shared the statistics each piece of crockery had with the group and were shocked at how backwards the statistics seemed. The larger lunch groups discussed it with the other participants. All participants agreed to help me cleanup, however the smaller group who discussed the topic the least also did significantly less during the cleanup. This suggests that discussion on the phenomena is the mediating factor between becoming aware of the statistics and taking action on them. The feedback I received during my exhibition was overwhelmingly positive (however there was a larger female audience) and one participant indicated that she would buy cutlery if it were with suggestions customized for her house, as a game to get her children involved in with chores.