Tuesday, September 26, 2017
How the other half lives

How the other half lives

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Antoinette and Yemi Adenle with children Ella and Louise
Antoinette and Yemi Adenle with children Ella and Louise

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good.

Luckily, this is not difficult. This comment from politician Charlotte Whitton has been ringing in Yemi and Antoinette Adenle’s ears for the last month, after the husband and wife agreed to swap tasks for a week.

The duo, from Herne Hill, took on each other’s household jobs to give them a better understanding of how their other half lives.

It proved an education – for both of them – and their offspring, Ella and Louis. The experiment was part of research done by Indesit into gender roles – with three other families taking part.

And it prompted them both to appear on ITV’s Good Morning Britain and also Lorraine – who knows a thing or two about job swaps herself. The couple are busy parents who both work and also juggle raising their two children.

Dad Yemi spent a week getting to grips with housework for the first time, but found that the biggest highlight was spending more time with the children in the evenings.

For his wife, Antoinette, swapping roles for just one week has made it easier to switch jobs to help each other out when needed. Yemi said: “Having more freedom in the kitchen to prepare meals and experiment with food for the children was one of the best parts. The more challenging part was the bedtime routine with my son Louis – but I’m getting better at that.

“Our friends and family’s reaction to us being involved was very positive. We sent a few of them the Indesit YouTube links but most of them were prompted when they saw us on Lorraine. Our friends saw the clip and the phone went mad.

“Our children really enjoyed the experience. Louis loved getting involved with the production team before shooting, and my daughter Ella loved being in front of the camera but was very critical of her hair style. She’s 12 years old – what can I say?

“What made us agree to do the experiment is that we thought it would be fun and give us chance to change roles – and the fact they were shooting at our house would be interesting too.”

Some jobs may be tougher to shift on a pemanent basis. Yemi, senior host at Bafta 195 and an executive producer for a film company called QFP Quantum Film Productions, admitted: “Antoinette still has major issues with the bins.

“We haven’t reverted to our original roles since the experiment but we have switched up a few times then back again.

“We would for sure do it again as there could be some other roles that could be changed – such as the driving on family days out and the preparation of the packed lunches.”

They might be thinking about who does what at home, but they are not thinking about changing their home.

“In Herne Hill, we have the best of both worlds with great schools for the children, plus the diversity of Brixton and Brockwell Park right on our doorstep. I can’t think of anything we dislike about it.”

The results were filmed by the company and broadcast last month on Indesit’s YouTube channel.

British author, TV personality and vlogger, Giovanna Fletcher, who presented the show said: “This brilliantly simple concept really made me take a look at my own life, and I think that’s part of the appeal.

“By saying some jobs are for men or for women we all get stuck living in ways that aren’t necessarily what we’d choose or most enjoy.”

Commenting on the experiment, leading psychologist and family lifestyle expert Emma Kenny, who features in the final episode, said: “It’s really fantastic that Indesit has started a conversation about responsibilities in the home.

“From all the families that took part we see that when you collaborate, you also discover skills you never thought you had. You also fully appreciate just how hard your partner works at the same time. “Sharing chores and redressing the balance really matters. A happy family, is a helpful family!”

Ian Moverley, brand communications director at Indesit added: “It’s surprising that in this day and age, household chores still seem to end up with mum.

“We hope with this campaign we inspire families to help out a little more and have fun in the process.

“Our products are designed not only to be fast and efficient but easy to use so everyone can operate them!’

Paul Lagan is a highly experienced journalist with more than 30 years experience in regional print and digital journalism. Paul has worked as a sports reporter, sub-editor, chief sub-editor and production editor at Newsquest South London, overseeing the implementation of their suite of award-winning websites. As well as a specialist sports reporter covering Chelsea FC for the London Weekly News group of newspapers, Paul is also a sub-editor at the South London Press.

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How the other half lives