Chores for a Cause! Housework that helps others

Chores young girl
Chores for a Cause is an opportunity to help stop the cycle of violence, and have conversations about gender stereotyping and respectful relationships

Chores for a Cause aims to redistribute women’s mental and physical load more evenly across our households…and in doing so, help not only your own life balance, but also raise money and awareness for women and children who are homeless and survivors of domestic violence. Polly Dunning explains how it works. 

Want to roll up your sleeves and help us put an end to domestic violence and women’s homelessness?
Need to feel like you’re actively making a difference in your community?
Hoping to do some spring cleaning and finally find the motivation you need to clean your bedroom?

Being home a lot more, as we all have been over the last five months or so, has been… ahem… challenging, to say the least! Between home learning, working from home, and worrying about everything from health, the economy, our jobs and food security, to whether we’d be able to get toilet paper before the last roll disappeared, it has been, and continues to be, a pretty stressful time. And for many women, a time characterised by seemly endless housework. Because, of course, more time at home means more dirty dishes, more “craft” to entertain the kids, more dusting, more vacuuming, more mopping, and more cleaning the toilet. Great.

chores for a cause

Chores for a Cause helps even the balance in households by giving children gender atypical jobs

And the thing we know about housework and childcare is that mothers do more of it. Even pre-COVID-19, mothers were doing about double the hours of childcare and housework that fathers do. In fact, even in couples where the mother is the breadwinner, she still does more hours of both housework and childcare than her male partner

So, not only have women lost more jobs, and more hours, while being more likely to work in front line services during this pandemic, but we’re also increasing our already unfair share of the unpaid work at home.

And our kids see it.

And they will replicate it if we don’t step in and change it.

I have a son and a daughter. I don’t want my son to ever think housework and childcare are not his responsibility, and I don’t want my daughter to feel she should do more than her fair share.

Then I saw the Chores for a Cause program from Women’s Community Shelters, where kids are encouraged to help out around the house in gender a-typical ways (think getting your daughter to mow the lawn and your son to do the mopping) to raise money for women and children who are homeless and survivors of domestic violence.

“Domestic and family violence is a chronic and ongoing social problem that spikes during times of widespread disaster and stress” says CEO of Women’s Community Shelters Annabelle Daniel OAM. And a recent survey from the Australian Institute of Criminology found that almost ten percent of Australian women in a relationship have experienced domestic violence during the pandemic, and more than half of women who had experienced it prior to the pandemic said it was happening more often or becoming more severe.

I think we all recognise that this is a community problem. A crisis, like the COVID-19 pandemic, that we are all responsible for combatting.

And with the housework piling up (I swear my dishes dirty themselves) and my mind on my responsibility to help create a more equal world for my son and daughter, and for all our sons and daughters, joining the Chores for a Cause program is a no-brainer.

The solution: Chores for a Cause

I am always looking for ways to feel like an ace parent while exerting myself as little as possible; minimum effort for maximum payout (I like to see it as a good example to my kids and an antidote to the “woman doing it all” thing, but really, I just like relaxing). This program kills at least three birds with one stone:

  1. I get my kids thinking and taking action about the situation too many women and children find themselves in
  2. I get them learning that there’s no such thing as “boy jobs” and “girl jobs”
  3. I get a clean-ish, or at least clean-er, house.   

 I am relishing the chance to get my kids active at a time when we have all felt so helpless. As Dannielle Miller, Education Officer at Women’s Community Shelters says, “The research clearly shows that meaningful fundraising opportunities like this one are just what our young people need right now. During times of uncertainty, altruistic acts boost our morale, foster a sense of connection, and give us back a sense of control.”  

This is an opportunity for us all to get involved in stopping the cycle of violence, and to have age-appropriate conversations about gender stereotyping and respectful relationships. All while starting the Spring cleaning season with a few extra hands.  


Women’s Community Shelters

Women’s Community Shelters works with communities to establish new shelters which provide a safe bed and support that enables homeless women to rebuild self-esteem and achieve control of their lives.

Amazing, huh? And we want young people just like you to work with us in a meaningful way.

Chores for a Cause is an opportunity for every young person (aged from 8 to 18!) to know they are change makers too.

How does Chores for a Cause work?

During the month of September, complete chores in exchange for money that can be donated to one of our shelters or to our Head Office.

You might want to clean up the garage at home, wash a teacher’s car, mow a neighbour’s lawn, sort out that messy third draw in the kitchen…

You can negotiate what you think is a fair rate for your time and work, and then donate that money to the shelter below that you’d most like to adopt.

“We would be thrilled if you could raise up to $25 for us. Why not more? We’ve been inspired by author and activist Glennon Doyle. This isn’t just about a few young people doing the heavy lifting and raising lots of money. This is an opportunity for everyone to feel they can pitch in and do their little bit too. Because solving domestic and family violence and homelessness needs everyone to care and contribute.” – Women’s Community Shelter


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