Eve Rodsky’s goal is to change how families think about the distribution of household and care work. In other words, Eve’s work revolves around reversing thousands of years of cultural norms that expect women to manage almost all the childcare and housework. It started one day when Eve was crazy busy juggling a new born, a toddler, an exhausting to-do list, and a demanding job. On that fateful day, Eve’s husband sent a text message, “I’m suprised you didn’t get blueberries.” The blueberry request is this moment, now frozen in time, that eventually led to what Eve did next. Eve decided to start the “Sh*t I Do” spreadsheet to understand the scope of work that most women manage; which includes an enormous amount of “cognitive labor”. As a Harvard Law School graduate and organizational consultant, Eve addressed this household problem with the same intensity, and using the same set of skills she used in her day job as a mediator. Eve started to ask around and collected thousands of tasks and responsibilities women manage in their homes.
Eve’s research eventually led to “Fair Play”, a book devoted to helping partners divide the 100 most common household and caretaking responsibilities. Today, Eve is leading a movement devoted to advocating for policy and cultural changes related to who owns the cognitive labor for the housework and childcare responsibilities in a family.
In our conversation, Eve shares her story and what she has learned during the last 9 years while researching the gender division of labor. We have a lively discussion on why it is so important to shift cultural expectations for care and housework. We also learn about Eve’s early influences and why men, women and society devalue women’s time.