Equality in Relationships

For many couples, imbalanced gender roles are the root cause of conflict, resentment, and sometimes even divorce. Learn how to cultivate equality in your relationship for a stronger, happier connection.

Over the past few decades, we’ve made some huge strides toward building equality in relationships at a societal level. It’s no longer rare for a woman to be her family’s primary breadwinner, or to see a dad perusing the produce aisle with a Baby Bjorn strapped to his chest. 

Yet, for many couples who arrive in couples counseling or relationship coaching, the division of household labor is still a perennial source of conflict and resentment. Many couples still fall into traditional gender roles when it comes to who’s doing the cleaning, the cooking, and the shopping for their families, even though it’s now the norm for both partners to work full-time. 

Furthermore, tasks or roles associated with “women’s work” are often viewed as being less valuable and important than activities associated with traditional male roles. Even relationships between career-focused women and stay-at-home dads can have issues with power imbalances and inequality because we value these types of work differently based on our attitudes about gender.

Relationships that feel imbalanced and unfair are not only bad for the partner who’s doing most of the daily household tasks. They’re bad for the relationship itself, and for both partners inside of it. Becoming truly equal partners is often the path to creating a happier, more connected, and more fulfilling relationship (and, interestingly, a better sex life), and that’s what we’re discussing in this article.

I also created an episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast on this topic. My guest is Kate Mangino, a gender expert, speaker, and the author of “Equal Partners: Improving Gender Equality at Home.” Kate is sharing wisdom from her extensive social science research, as well her own life and relationship, to help you find ways to create a truly equal partnership that feels fair, balanced, and fulfilling. You can find the episode on this page, Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. 

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What Is Equality in Relationships?

Relationships thrive when they’re balanced. When you can find a rhythm of give and take that feels good for you both, it’s easy to appreciate your partner and to trust they have your back. 

And yet, it’s very common for couples to fall into unbalanced dynamics, where one partner takes on more than their share of the cleaning, planning, and household management that daily life requires, in addition to working a full-time job. These imbalances often have a gendered basis, even for couples with progressive values who have no desire to live out a “Leave It to Beaver” episode. 

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We all have deeply ingrained cultural scripts operating outside of our awareness. These come from our families, our communities, pop culture, and more. It’s easy to slip into these scripts with your partner, especially if you’re not proactively trying to create balance and equality in your relationship. And this isn’t just true for relationships between men and women — it’s not uncommon for same-sex or queer couples to have one partner who takes on the “female role” and the other who takes on the “male role” and to divide labor along those lines. 

In this podcast, we explored the consequences of unequal relationships, and what you can do to break free from gendered expectations and find a healthy balance together. 

Traditional Gender Roles in Relationships

In relationships between men and women, it’s increasingly common for the woman to earn more money, and for the man to take on a greater share of the parenting and household responsibilities. Even in relationships like these, gender roles can be an issue. 

For example, the man who’s staying home with the kids and handling all the household chores might feel unappreciated, disempowered, and overburdened. That’s because the work he’s performing tends to be undervalued, whether it’s being performed by a man or by a woman. 

Sexist programming has taught many of us that “women’s work” is less important and less valuable, both within the home and outside of it. It’s one of the reasons that, when more men enter female-dominated fields like teaching or nursing, wages tend to increase for both men and women working in those fields (and as women enter more male-dominated fields, the pay drops). The work is valued more when it’s perceived as masculine.  

What does this mean for your relationship? It means that what matters is the role you’re filling, not necessarily your gender. Even couples who are reversing the traditional gender script can have problems with power imbalances and inequality. 

Gender Roles at Home

We’ve come a long way since the 1950s, but research shows that the majority of the cleaning, cooking, and caring for children often falls on one partner. Unfortunately, these out-of-balance relationships are fertile breeding grounds for resentment. When couples arrive in marriage counseling with these issues, the partner carrying the majority of the household work often feels exhausted, overwhelmed, and frustrated. Their partner often feels misunderstood, criticized, and tired of walking on eggshells around a partner who’s always angry

Men may feel pressure to perform the “male role” in a certain way, such as by earning more money, or by avoiding vulnerability in relationships, and they can feel that those burdens go unrecognized and unappreciated. These attitudes can keep men from participating fully in parenting, making it more difficult for them to form strong and fulfilling relationships with their children. 

This isn’t anyone’s idea of a healthy relationship, and yet it is so common. Creating a truly egalitarian relationship requires open and ongoing conversations, not only about who is doing what, but about what’s important to you as a couple, and how you both feel about the way you’re working together. 

Gender Roles and “Emotional Labor” 

The term emotional labor has come to describe everything from a flight attendant smiling as they serve a rude customer, to a friend offering a sympathetic ear when you’re processing a breakup. But “emotional labor” has also been used to describe the invisible labor that happens in families and in couples, which tends to fall most heavily on people in the female role. 

A better term might be cognitive labor, or “invisible labor” since emotional support isn’t always the point. Cognitive labor includes remembering that the kids stay after school for basketball on Tuesdays, or that you’re running low on laundry detergent and need to buy some next time you’re at the store. It can include planning family holidays a few months in advance, researching a dozen potential contractors, and even remembering to send a birthday card to your nieces and nephews. 

This work is invisible, but it’s important. If no one is thinking about what needs to be done, planning tasks and delegating them, the laundry piles up and the kids get left at basketball practice. The flooring never gets installed, and connections with extended family and friends suffer. 

In many couples, one partner feels like they have to shoulder this burden alone, and that if they don’t, nothing will be done. Staying on top of a neverending to-do list is mentally taxing and often thankless work. The partner doing most of the cognitive labor may even be labeled “naggy” for their frequent requests and reminders. 

The first step in rebalancing the load is making the invisible visible. Communicate openly about the tasks you’re each taking care of, the full scope of what they entail, what it feels like to carry the cognitive load, and what it would look like to redistribute some of that labor in your relationship. 

The Benefits of Equality in Relationships

When couples can find an equal balance, they can build thriving relationships. It’s easier to let go of resentment when you see your partner stepping up. When couples feel like they’re on the same team, they can stop having arguments about who is or isn’t doing what, and start having constructive conversations that help their relationships grow

Research also shows that dividing household labor more equitably can lead to a better sex life. Unsurprisingly, feeling overburdened and under appreciated is not a recipe for vibrant sexual intimacy in marriage

How to Create More Equal in Relationships

Creating more equal relationships starts with finding shared goals and values. It’s often the case that we’re doing things that don’t serve our larger life goals and that we don’t really need to be doing, just because of messages we’ve picked up about what it means to be a good wife, husband, mom, or dad. 

For example, if you have subconsciously internalized some messages about what it means to be a “good mother,” you might spend your Saturday trying to recreate the birthday cake you saw on Pinterest, and you might resent your partner for relaxing on the couch. Meanwhile, your partner may wonder why you’re driving yourself nuts when you could just pick up a cake at Costco (which your kid would enjoy just as much). He might say that you’re making a big deal out of nothing, which can feel invalidating for you.

Couples can lighten the load and avoid a lot of conflict by exploring where the pressure to do certain things is coming from. Together, you can identify the things that really matter for your family — having fun experiences, taking care of everyone’s health and well-being — then you can divide up the tasks that are actually necessary to make those things happen, and eliminate the rest. This is a continuous process that involves a lot of communication and compromise, and that ultimately makes you a stronger, more cohesive unit with a shared vision for your life together. 

It’s important to pay attention to how you’re dividing labor and to do so with intention — especially during big transitions, such as moving in together, getting married, or re-establishing your relationship after a baby arrives. 

Creating equality in your relationship will help you and your partner feel more connected, appreciated, and understood. Even more importantly, it will model a healthy partnership for your children and prepare them to have a balanced relationship of their own someday. If you’d like support from a couples counselor on my team, I invite you to schedule a free consultation.

xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

P.S. If you enjoy this episode, please check out our Growing Together collection for more podcasts and articles that can help you make positive, concrete changes in the day-to-day of your shared life together.

Citations

  1. Giménez-Nadal, J. I., Mangiavacchi, L., and Piccoli, L. (2019). Keeping inequality at home: The genesis of gender roles in housework. Labour Economics, 58, 52-68.
  2. Gumà, J., Solé-Auró, A., and Arpino, B. (2019). Examining social determinants of health: the role of education, household arrangements and country groups by gender. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 699. doi:10.1186/s12889-019-7054-0

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Equality in Relationships

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Music

Music in this episode is by Crass with their song “Walls: Fun in the Oven.” You can support them and their work by visiting their Bandcamp page here: https://crass.bandcamp.com/. Under the circumstance of use of music, each portion of used music within this current episode fits under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, i.e., Fair Use. Please refer to copyright.gov if further questions are prompted.

Lisa Marie Bobby: On today’s episode of the podcast, we’re talking about something I know impacts you if you are in a relationship, and that is trying to find a healthy balance. It’s true, we’re not living in the 1950s anymore. I mean, for straight couples, it’s no longer the norm for the male partner to never change a diaper or do the dishes. Men now do a lot of household labor that used to be coded women’s work, including taking care of children. 

But many couples still struggle with imbalance when it comes to responsibilities, expectations and assumptions about who should be doing what. Equality in relationships is something that we’re always striving for, and it needs to be revisited at points throughout the lifespan of a relationship because as your life circumstances change, so can your balance of power in your partnership. 

So this is a really important topic for anybody in a relationship, and I’m so glad that we’re talking about this today with my guest, who is a true expert in this area. Kate Mangino has spent over 20 years working in international development originally, helping people in countries all over the world around gender equality, women’s empowerment, healthy masculinity, and has been a real activist for social change in these areas. 

More recently, she has been turning her efforts towards helping us achieve these kinds of positive changes in our personal lives, too. Her new book is called Equal Partners: Improving Gender Equality at Home. She is here today to share her wisdom with you. So Kate, thank you so much for joining us today. This is a real treat.

Kate Mangino: Thank you so much for having me.

Lisa: Yay. Well, if it’s okay, just to jump right in. I mean, I am always so curious to know about where this energy comes from in my guests, and so with you, can you tell us a little bit just about your story. What led you to take up this particular cause as what seems like your life’s work? I mean, that’s an overstatement. 

Kate: Certainly, and absolutely, so I have been working in international development my whole career, so about 20 years now. My oldest child is 11. So I didn’t notice the gendered perceptions and how strong they were, to be totally honest. I noticed to an extent, but it was really when I became a parent that it became really obvious to me how gendered our social patterns really were. 

I’ll go back. When my kids were little, I was able to go to Zambia and Indonesia and Nigeria and have very sophisticated conversations with communities about gender because in that role, I was being paid to go somewhere and I was the expert, and everyone was happy to listen to me and have a conversation that I initiated. But at the playground down the street from our house at family get-togethers, at PTA meetings, at daycare, I was seeing very antiquated sort of traditional gender norms. 

I saw that people’s expectations of me, as a mother, were very different from my male partner as a father, and it frustrated me and I sort of had this moment when, I mean, books evolve over time, but it was the night when I really got this idea that I need to do something about it. I was finishing up my dissertation. My kids were one and four, I think, and so little. I was the primary caregiver. I was the parent. 

I was teaching two undergraduate classes and finishing my degree, so I had the flexible schedule, right? I was the one that got a phone call when someone was sick, or if daycare was closed. I was the one that had to stay home. My husband had a nine to five. My adviser called me into her office and said, I know your dissertation is due in two months, but I need more time to review it, so I need it on my desk in one month. I kind of lost it.

Lisa: Did your head explode or…?

Kate: I did, I lost it. I kept it together until I got home. Then, I got home, and I just sobbed. I sat on my kitchen floor and sobbed for a very long time. I remember it so clearly. I remember how dirty my floor was, and then that was bothering me on top of it because I thought, and I have to clean the floor. 

Lisa: And my floor is dirty.

Kate: My husband sat down and he’s a good human and he kept saying I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. What can I do to help you? Now, I was finishing a dissertation on the intersection between women’s empowerment and masculinities, so I had this data like on the tip of my tongue, and it was just this rush of emotion.

I just said, “I don’t want you to help me. Helping me is more work for me. I don’t want to make you a to do list. I want you to be my equal partner. I thought we were in this together. I see that with the birth of our second child, I have reverted back to more female coded roles, and you’ve reverted more back to male coded roles.” I said, “I’m overwhelmed, and I can see you pulling away from the kids. I think this is harmful for both of us, and I would like us to do something about it.”

We made a pot of coffee, and that started the conversation that continues today about gender roles in our home. But what made me want to write this book is realizing that I had the words at the moment because I happened to be finishing a dissertation on that topic, but I thought, most people don’t have the statistics at their fingertips. They don’t have the words and the language to use, and so this book was really a way to share that information very broadly. 

So when other people have their kitchen floor moments, they know what to say to advocate for themselves, and ideally, for new couples to read it so they never get to the kitchen floor in the first place.

Lisa: Right? Thank you so much for sharing that personal story. That’s really amazing. I could see that shift, because it sounds like in your previous work on the international stage, you are tackling things like the child marriage of girls, right, and really, obviously problematic kinds of power dynamics that are quite oppressive and abusive to girls in countries around the world.

I can see how in our own homes, it can be much more subtle and almost easy to miss. We’re kind of just swimming in this little situation that we were acculturated to not even notice is weird, until you have that kind of crisis moment, when you’re sitting on the kitchen floor, and your wonderful husband is asking, “what can I do to help?” and it’s just like this, I’m imagining myself on the kitchen floor with you, this moment of like, “Do you notice that the floor that we are sitting on is dirty?”

Kate: Yeah. 

Lisa: Like it’s invisible. It’s invisible and to have to ask. So I’m so glad that you have turned your work into this realm, and also forgive me — are you Dr. Mangino now?

Kate: I am. I did finish. I actually did get it done in that month, and I got it on their desk. Yeah, I did earn that degree eventually. 

Lisa: Well, I should have introduced you as a doctor. 

Kate: No big deal though.

Lisa: So, okay. Well, then, even though in many kind of broad strokes, there is equality that is different than the world has ever seen centuries past. There are so many aspects of our relationships that are not fully equal yet, and these can certainly fall along gender lines. There can also be these power imbalances and differences in expectations or people assuming responsibilities really that others aren’t, that create these imbalanced dynamics that don’t feel fair to one person. 

They create these moments of overwhelm or even resentment no matter what gender identification is present, and this can happen certainly in same-sex relationships. It can also happen in heterosexual relationships, and it can happen in ways that are opposite sometimes in what we could expect. You can see these imbalances happening not along gender roles sometimes, and so I’m wondering if we could‌ start there. 

Can you just talk a little bit more broadly about these constructs of where these imbalances come from in terms of power, control, expectations more broadly? Then maybe, we can tie this into how they’re often coded, to use your words, along gender lines.

Kate: I’m just going to start this conversation with the premise that I think it’s very important to acknowledge gender norms, because that is often what gets us to where we are today. But also, we’re at this turning point where we’re starting to think about gender in a very different way, and so they don’t need to dictate our future. 

I think that there’s sort of a balance there that I’m trying to look for, which is hard in the written form, when you’re trying to balance these norms that we’ve been brought up with and then our future that we’re trying to show shift. I’m glad that you brought up power because I think gender and class and race and power all interrelate, and I have a section of my book that’s about gender and race specifically because I think that dads of color and moms of color are facing compounded issues more so than white moms and dads. I think that’s a really important thing to talk about and to dig into.

In terms of coded roles, we have these norms around what is women’s work, and what is men’s work, and I think it comes from a historical myth. I actually think it’s a myth. I don’t think it was our reality. I think that there have always been families for the last many generations and decades who have both had to work for economic stability. 

We certainly know that in rural and farming cultures, women have always worked just as many hours on farms as men because it was a family business. It might have been pop culture that brought to light this sort of Leave It to Beaver household with this bread earning dad and this stay at home mom, who can have cookies and an apron and look beautiful. I think that that’s probably always been the minority of families. I just don’t think there are a lot of families that can afford to have one working parent and one stay at home parent. It’s certainly never been the vast majority.

Wherever that myth came from, whether it was pop culture or whether it was just sort of cultural expectation, I think the reality and our perception don’t always meet, but the perception of this ideal household where the mom stays home, and the dad works. So what does everyone do? 

Okay, so the dad comes home with the paycheck. Income generation is his number one priority, which means that she takes care of everything else, right? So she’s doing the nurturing, the caregiving, whether that’s for children or pets or for sick adults in their life. It’s tending the home. 

Over time, I think that when you have that assumption that you’re going to grow up as the breadwinner, or you’re going to grow up as the domestic manager, we instill certain values in our boys and girls that are going to prepare them for that job. So we talk to boys about what kind of career you’re going to have, and what kind of upward mobility and what kind of income you can have, and what’s the benefits package, and we raise girls to think about job flexibility and nurturing and how are you going to be able to take care of the people in your life. 

So I think that that manifests itself into what we have today, where yes, we have come quite far from the 1950s and 60s, and it’s nothing to see a dad with a Babybjörn in a grocery store on a Saturday morning. These are normal things that we see every day. So yes, I think we can acknowledge our gendered past, and we can acknowledge that we’ve come a very long way. I think we can also blatantly say we have far to go, and this is a milestone, not an endpoint.

In the book, I specifically talk about male role and female role because these are, at the end of the day, behavior patterns. They’re not linked to our DNA. They’re not linked to our gender identity. They are behavior patterns. I’ve interviewed couples that are different sex, where the dad is doing the female coded work, and the mom’s doing the male coded work. 

I’ve interviewed many same-sex and queer couples who still fall into the patterns of female coded work and male coded work. I think it’s an important conversation to have so that we can make intentional decisions about what we want to do so that we don’t just fall back into replicating patterns of behavior that might not fit our modern life.

Lisa: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense, and I’m glad that we’re talking about it using this language that that’s not necessarily tied to a specific gender, per se. It is a set of behaviors that are coded as feminine versus masculine. I really wanted to bring this up not just for the benefit of our listeners who are in same-sex relationships, but also just to highlight the fact that this can look very different in different families really, and just so to share a little bit to give you some context. 

When I was growing up, my father — and I did not know this at the time but I know now  — my father was a feminist. So when I was eight years old, it was, “Lisa, you need to get good grades in school so that you can go to college so that you can get a good job so that you can support yourself.” There was never this “because somebody else is going to take care of you.”

Like teaching me how to change the oil on a car because I was going to need to know how to do that, obviously. So I actually did not grow up with that kind of caretaker role mindset. My husband did. 

Kate: Interesting. 

Lisa: Yes. On one of our first dates, he shared that he had rescued a litter of baby kittens that had been abandoned by their mother and had spent the last several days like feeding them with a little bottle and like washing them, like that sort of thing. I just wanted to bring that into the conversation because I think that there also needs to be space for people who were acculturated in different ways. 

Kate: Yes.

Lisa: But we still certainly have those kinds of power imbalances, sometimes, and different expectations in our relationship, and I certainly hear what you’re saying about the kind of societal assumptions that… I am actually the one who is working all day. Yet, I still get the phone call from the school nurse if the kid is— “Well, why are you calling me?” Do you know what I mean? In my family, that is actually not my job. So to be able just to talk about how that impacts couples, no matter what their gender identification, or like history of socialization is.

One of the reasons I was so excited to speak with you is that in your book, you interviewed a lot of different kinds of people, so same-sex relationships. You also talk to a lot of men, as well as working women about this idea of equality in relationships and what it really means to them. 

What were some of your big, big takeaways around what your research revealed? Not just how people experienced inequality but how it impacts them on an individual level, but also like relationally. That was about 75 questions all at the same time.

Kate: I can’t help but to comment on your story because it’s a really interesting one. I interviewed a woman who was in a similar background. Her father was also a feminist and raised sounds very similar to the way you were raised, and she thought that that was the norm, because she didn’t realize her family was different. So she grew up and fell in love and married a guy who said, oh, yeah, I believe in equality, no problem, one conversation, click the box. 

She said he did not get it in the way that my family did, and it continues to be a major sticking point in their marriage in constant conflict, because she grew up thinking this was normal, and is kind of shocked into realizing the rest of the world doesn’t support this kind of relationship. So the importance of talking about it, we can probably get to that later on. So let me let me go back to your question about inequality, and I say very clearly in the book that this is not a book about justice, my perspective. 

You can make the argument that equality is a justice issue or human rights issue. I also think it’s an issue about egalitarianism because I think that equality is better for everyone. I’m not just making the point that gender equality is better for women. I’m saying that gender equality is better for all humans. So what does inequality look like in the household? We know from journals and data collection that people in the female role do twice as much household work per week than people in the male role. 

So if someone doing the male role, this, with or without kids, is doing 10 hours of work per week. His female role partner is doing 20 hours a week. If you multiply that over multiple months or years, you come up with a huge difference in working time. Now, this is on top of full-time jobs. I only talk to people who are dual earners. No one was a stay at home parent or stay at home spouse. 

When you have hundreds of free hours over the course of the year, you can sleep more. You can exercise more. You can see friends. You can invest in a hobby. You can put in overtime work either to make more money, or to make yourself more attractive for a promotion or some sort of upward mobility in a professional way. You have all of these choices. You have all of this time and you can invest it however you wish. 

When you’re doing more work in the home, when you’re burdened with the everyday chores and the every day routine, you don’t have those choices, and you don’t have the free time. So women or anyone who’s performing that female role in their partnership could quite easily be stuck, overburdened, exhausted, feeling very much alone. It starts with resentment and perhaps bitterness towards their partner, so they’re not going to be in the best of relationships. 

You probably aren’t real interested in a great sex life when you’re bitter about your partner who has so much more free time than you do. This can turn in to problems in a professional setting. You aren’t able to put your hat in for a promotion. You aren’t able to take an extra shift to earn more money because you have so many household duties. So it can for sure limit what you can achieve professionally and what you can earn. 

Long term, it has huge ramifications around emotional and physical health. On the other side of it, we don’t see negative ramifications happening as immediately. They’re a little bit harder to find because it’s stretched over a longer term. But men who focus on income generation, people doing that male role who are not as invested in the caregiving and the inter workings of the household on a daily basis, don’t have the close emotional bonds that come with caregiving roles.

So they aren’t as close to their spouse. They also suffer or can suffer sexual relationships. They aren’t able to express their feelings as clearly, and this can have negative impacts around emotional health, which can lead to poor physical health. The one thing that I heard over and over from men is this notion that they have to perform a certain sort of masculinity, that when they’re fulfilling the male role, and their number one goal is to bring home money and as much money as possible, they feel put into a box, and they feel like when they are at home, they have to perform this safe, big, strong, “I’m going to take care of every one” role. 

That is exhausting themselves, and it’s a lot of stress. It’s a lot of pressure. Men told me in my research that just as many women say I’d love to share the household burden with someone, many men told me, “I’d love to share the income burden with someone so it all doesn’t fall on my shoulders.”

Lisa: That is such a good point that when there are any kinds of imbalances or divisions, a sense of burden for the person who’s primarily in charge of earning income and for the person primarily in charge of doing all the things and the caretaking, it can feel lonely. It feels isolating, and it feels like too much for one person to do. I’m so glad that we’re talking about this because I think that that gets missed in the narrative. 

It’s very easy to see the other person’s life experience as being much easier than yours, and that kind of engine of resentment that can build for sure. 

Kate: Yes. 

Lisa: Also, I think you’re starting to get into pieces of this too, like there are impacts of imbalance, inequality when it comes to the things that need to be done: the earning of money, the taking care of children and pets and washing the floors. But there’s also this idea of emotional labor, that cognitive load, the person who needs to pay attention to all the things. 

Can you talk a little bit more about what you have uncovered about what that really is? What it feels like for people and what happens when that gets out of balance as well?

Kate: I think this is an essential piece of the conversation that you can’t really talk about household balance unless you talk about cognitive labor. So over the course of years, some people have used the term emotional labor, second shift. We’ve heard it paraphrased in different ways. I think that cognitive labor is my most favorite term, because I think that it most effectively sums up what we’re talking about. 

Allison Daminger is a professor. She just graduated from Harvard, and I believe she’s now in Wisconsin. She’s the one that coined this term, and she describes it as a four step process that it’s about anticipating needs, researching, making decisions and evaluating. So any of us who’ve had a job realizes that’s project management. It’s the project management cycle, and it happens inside our homes every day. 

If you’re managing a household with kids and with pets, and maybe with in laws who live with you, or house guests and friends, there’s like 50 to 60 little project cycles happening constantly around you. There’s the meal project cycle, and there’s each kid, the after school and the camps. I was on a panel this morning, and we were lamenting how hard summer is because every week is a different camp, and it’s a new routine, and it’s a new packing list. 

It’s like this is superhero camp, and now, it’s water camp and you’re freaking out on Sunday night trying to run out and get the bathing suit. That’s cognitive labor and are a lot of the research that comes from chore journals when couples keep track of the number of hours they do chores. They aren’t doing an adequate job, I think, in my mind of capturing cognitive labor. I do cognitive labor in the shower. 

I do cognitive labor when I’m laying in bed at night and a few seconds before I fall asleep. I’m doing cognitive labor when I’m driving, when I’m exercising. I can be folding the laundry and thinking about what I’m going to do for meals next week, right? So I think that the female role, the cognitive labor of the household is doing so much more work than we’re even able to pin down and understand.

Lisa: Well, and then how is that in your experience different along those gender lines? Because I heard you say that that kind of female coded role can definitely be thinking ahead, what are we going to eat? What are we going to do? What are the kids need for the camp? Blah, blah, blah. Is there an expression of that that is tied to a male coded role? Like, for example, my husband will say things that are never a thought in my head, which is, we need to get the windshield wipers replaced. Like, I haven’t think about that stuff. Is there kind of an analogy along gender lines? 

Kate: For sure, I think there’s probably male coded cognitive labor, too. It might be around finances and investments, if you have investments. It might be around car maintenance.

Lisa: Oh, that’s my job too.

Kate: Oftentimes, male coded work is becomes outdoor, so anything that’s outside the walls, so lawn care, any kind of car maintenance, anything that has to do with the garage or fix it projects. Female coded work tends to be inside the house, so the washing the laundry, the child care. I do get some people sort of pushing back a little bit saying, “We have an equal balance. She does the indoor stuff. I do the outdoor stuff. We’re equal. Why do we need a book?”

I think that the point I like to raise there is that it is a way to delegate tasks, but it’s certainly not equal. That the indoor tasks are routine. They have to happen every single day. If you skip dinner with your kids, it’s a major problem. Maybe one day, you can order pizza, but you can’t just not feed your children for several days. 

If you don’t mow the lawn on a Saturday, your neighbors might be a little annoyed with you and roll their eyes, but it’s not going to be the catastrophe of not feeding your children. So there is this daily burden that comes with those inside the house chores that you don’t get with the outside of the house projects. Also, interestingly enough, you would think that urban men would do more inside because you don’t have yards, or you have very small outdoor spaces when you live in an urban space. 

That’s not true, urban men just have more leisure time than rural men, because they don’t do more inside the house chores. They just tend to have more free hours. So I think that although it is one traditional way of delegating tasks, it’s definitely not an equality issue.

Lisa: Okay, well, then, and so let’s talk just from what I’m hearing you say, and I think I’ve experienced this as well. You’re saying sometimes there can be pushback or sort of people saying no, it’s equal. It’s just sort of a different kind of equal that your research has revealed that that isn’t actually the case. 

That some kinds of family labor or this role, how roles are balanced are disproportionately harder or more work for one person than the other, and that it sounds like what one of the people in the couple is not always aware of that. They’re like, no, it’s the same.

Kate: Yeah. Maybe not aware of all the things that the other person does, right, just not aware. I think there’s a lot of when you have that imbalance of power, that balance of work, one person is performing all of this invisible labor. That’s another term that people use for cognitive labor, because it’s happening without everyone noticing it.

Lisa: Yeah. If somebody’s just taking care of it, it feels like magic elves, not an issue. “Our refrigerators always clean. That’s great.” Yeah, yeah. Well, and so I don’t know if it’s sort of time to shift into this, but like, I know, as a marriage counselor, working with couples, the presenting issue is not”our relationship dynamics are out of balance.” It is one person is very angry and resentful, and it’s impacting communication, and there’s hostility, and people are fighting. 

When people come in the door to marriage counseling, they are not aware of it always. It’s over a series of conversations that were kind of like pulling apart different aspects of their lives to understand where some of these feelings are coming from. Then, that’s when we can begin talking about these sorts of roles, because frequently people are just, as to use your language, acculturated into different roles, and they don’t even realize that it is problematic for themselves or their relationships until it hurts and they’re in pain and they’re in the marriage counselor’s office. 

Frequently, one of the interventions that I’ve used is to actually sit down with people and like, let’s make a list of what all needs to be done when it needs to be done, who is doing what etc, etc, just to develop that awareness. Are there other things, though, that you found through your research in working with couples that have helped raise awareness, help couples gain insight into some of those dynamics that can be very easy to not understand even when they’re happening?

Kate: Yes, absolutely. So I agree with you that I think one step could be to make the invisible visible, right? So both of you list all of the things that you’re doing and share them with each other, and it could be 50-50 already, but oftentimes, there’s one person who’s handling a lot more than the other. That can be a great way to be aware of what’s going on in the household.

I think that we have to take it deeper, though, because I think that a lot of what we do comes from what we value. There’s often a gender norm buried in there sometimes, somewhere, and I think that when you start to pick apart what we value and what we spend time on and why we spend time on it, it can turn into a gendered value.

Let me give you an example. A lot of times I hear male partner or someone in the male role saying, “She overdoes it. She goes too far. She makes a big deal out of nothing. The kids have Book Character Day, who cares? The night before just come up with something, put them in a pair of pajamas and say that they’re a Dr. Seuss character and send them to school. It’s not a big deal, right? Like, she’s doing much more. She doesn’t have to think about it two weeks in advance and go to the craft store and make a big deal about the book character costume, right? You don’t need to put eight hours into that costume. You put a half hour into it the night before.”

It’s not just about who’s doing the work, but it’s the quality of the work and the amount of time you put into it. For those of us with kids now, book character day is like a thing, which I find offensive. It’s like, are you kidding? I already did Halloween, and now, you want me to do book chracter. So it’s like coming up with a costume all over again. So do you do that the night before for a half hour and come up with something good enough or do you spend two to three weeks, multiple trips to the craft store, making it yourself? 

I think this boils down to gender in many ways because we are raised to, I think, women sorry, not when I say we I was putting myself in the female role. Women are raised to keep family ties pleasant, right, to keep family bonds, to do that socialization, to make sure that we’re having people over for dinner as well as they’re inviting us over for dinner. When there’s a potluck that we make sure we bring our fair share, that we keep up with family relations, and send birthday cards and wedding gifts and anniversary gifts. 

Because those social connections are really important to us, and we tend to own them. When they break down, women often feel judged. If they break down, we feel like it’s our fault. We didn’t put enough into it. So when you have little things like book character day, we feel like if our kid males in their costume and shows up with something that they clearly put together the day before, we feel responsible. 

Maybe we’re not taking school seriously enough. We’re not taking our kids seriously enough. We’re not putting enough time into it. It might be in a balance that we have with guilt and work. It could be about making our kid want to be proud about their costume when they go to school. All of these things are wrapped up into things that women are raised to think are important. They’re things that we should value, and they’re things that we’re going to be judged for if we don’t do it.

So in the mind of someone doing women’s coded work, it’s not a choice. This is the standard that I’m expected to achieve, whereas someone doing the male coded work doesn’t understand that. They weren’t raised to keep up family ties that way. They don’t feel judged when things break down. 

They just think, “well, they’re mad at me, no big deal, move on.” They don’t understand why something as silly as a costume for school is so important. I think when you get in, when you take the time to have conversations about what do you value, what do I value, what do I think is necessary to meet this end point, we really get to have great conversations about gender. 

I think in the end, which it’d be interesting what your thoughts are from your perspective, is that it’s probably a compromise, right? The female role is probably going a little bit overboard and one trip to the craft store and two hours on a Sunday afternoon would do it, and the male role needs to step up a little bit and realize that you can’t just put on some mismatched socks from the dirty clothes basket and make it that. 

It’s a compromise and that by working together and talking it out and agreeing on the compromise, that’s when I think you can make real inroads in equality.

Lisa: That makes a lot of sense and to really use it as a doorway to being able have deeper conversations about values, and what do we, as a couple, as a family, are going to agree that we care about what is important.

Finding that balance, maybe that is the doorway to creating that equitable relationship that feels more fair for both partners, because if one person is kind of running along this tape around what should be happening, that is extremely different, that is literally not a thought in the other person’s head, they are feeling very put upon that all this stuff is now their responsibility to do and and not even considering the fact that maybe nobody has to do it. I don’t know.

I have to tell you, Kate, as I was listening to you talk, I was like, “I am a total failure as a woman on so many different levels.” Just now saying this as somebody who was not raised, according to that kind of cultural script would be 100% fine with sending my kid to school and the mismatched socks like, “I don’t have a lot of time for this. So what can we find in a half hour? Actually, the gas station on the way to the school event, we’ll figure it out.” Like, you know what I mean?

Kate: I think you need, yeah, we need all kinds of people. We need to mix it up. I’m so happy. But I think there are a lot of women like you. 

Lisa: Well, now I’m upset though, because you’re telling me like people are judging me and getting mad at me for like getting them a gift certificate at the gas station on the way to the party.

Kate: The next thing that I want to talk about is that that judgment. Sometimes it’s not even real, sometimes it’s perceived judgment. It’s not even judgement. Sometimes no one else cares, and we put this on us ourselves for no real reason. The other thing is if someone’s going to judge you for whether or not you have a home baked treat or a store-bought treat, or whether or not you get a costume at the gas station on the way to school or you don’t, do we care about that judgment? 

Do we actually accept that shame and judgment, or do we think that’s kind of ridiculous? Those are not the friends and the support people that I need in my community, if you’re going to judge me about something as silly as that. So I also talk a lot about rejecting judgment and rejecting shame and being comfortable with who you are and what you do. W want to use a different example to, especially for people listening, who, we don’t want to use a kid example, cleanliness levels. 

Oftentimes, there’s one partner in the household who’s very comfortable with a high level of mess. You don’t care if the sink is full of dishes. You don’t care if there’s clutter. You don’t care if you don’t notice a ring in the shower. It doesn’t register, and there’s one person in the partnership who feels like the house needs to be clean and tidy for them to feel like they can breathe, right? That they feel like things are under control, and they’re comfortable, so finding that shared value.

Okay, if you lived alone, you would have an immaculate house and you would be a total slob, and you’d both be very happy, but you’re together. So what’s your shared value going to be? Maybe there’s a gender norm in there, and maybe there isn’t, but it’s worth having a conversation about it and deciding on what’s the level of mess that we agree to live with together.

Lisa: Yeah, and that makes a lot of sense. I’m hearing that as maybe a doorway, because like, when I put myself into the perspective of female or listeners or people who have been kind of doing those behaviors, are operating under those set of assumptions that are female coded, I could really see how working with a partner who has perhaps that more masculine orientation to find balance would often feel probably very invalidating. 

That could even be an obstacle to creating more equality in a relationship. So for example, if a partner is saying we really need to have this costume be over the top or you know, XYZ is going to happen, and it is actually very meaningful and important to find out more balance would feel maybe to that person, like somebody saying, that’s not as important as you think that it is, and that doesn’t feel good, does it?

Kate: That doesn’t feel good either. If you have, unless you got little kids, that’s different. But if you have a child who’s old enough, go to the kid. “Hey, is this important to you?” Instead of projecting or assigning our own values, go to the person who’s actually affected. Do you care if you have a really super cute costume or are okay with just putting on whatever? Let them and then if they care, they can lead. 

Because oftentimes what children when they communicate to us that they care about something, then we respond, right? So I think sometimes we also instead of projecting our own values or assumptions on our partners, our kids, our parents, just ask. Sometimes you’re surprised with the answer.

Lisa: Exactly. That’s great advice. Being in a family is making space for what other people actually think as opposed to assuming. Let’s talk about this piece too. 

I think culturally now, again, there has at least been overtly more movement towards creating empowering relationships that feel more balanced. That is the intention of many couples, it’s something that they want. And yet, what we can see is that even in couples and families who have more of these progressive ideals, or if you talk to them would feel that their intentions are more egalitarian — also for same sex couples — it is very easy to slide into these positions without even realizing it.

I’m curious to know more about what you see is the, I don’t know if vulnerabilities is the right word, things that can be overlooked as people are entering into relationships with each other, or even, to bring up your point about how in your own relationship, it didn’t really become obvious until after you became a parent. 

Are there life stages or transitions that can be particularly vulnerable times for even couples with the best of intentions to shift into some of these imbalanced dynamics?

Kate: For sure, I think the most vulnerable is adding first child to a relationship. That’s the most vulnerable, because I think even if there’s a cognitive labor in the household, without kids, there’s just less to do. So the cognitive labor can do the bulk of the work, but it’s so much less work that you still have time to see your friends. You still have time to sleep. You still have time. 

It’s when those the child enters the home or you could also, I don’t have data on this, but it’d be interesting if you say care for an older relative who moves into the household. It could be the same. It’s when someone is a dependent. There’s a dependent household. I think that because female coded work is around caregiving, oftentimes, women are expected to step up into that role. 

I think that our history with maternity leave, we know that about 75% of American women have some kind of maternity leave. During that time period, you don’t work and you focus 100% on that child. Then you go back to the work, you maintain all that you’ve done during maternity leave, and now, you’re also taking on your job. Whereas the male role went right back to work, and that shift wasn’t as evident in his everyday schedule as it was for hers. 

So I do think most vulnerable is birth of that first child or any kind of dependent care. I think that moving in together slash marriage can also be a huge point of vulnerability. I interviewed several Gen Z young women when I wrote the book, because I’m 46, and I identify as a Gen X-er. I kind of wanted to know what future generations were thinking and doing. One story I heard is a young woman who’s in college and had an internship over the summer and shared an apartment with a boyfriend. 

She said she was actually shocked and disappointed in herself how quickly they fell into gender roles, just the two of them, 21. That she said, “We both have taken gender studies classes. We both consider ourselves feminist, but translating theory into everyday household practice was a very different thing.”

So they found that they were still falling back into patterns that and we’re seeing in our data that we don’t really have much on Gen Z, but younger millennials, we’re not seeing that their relationships are any more egalitarian than Gen X. We haven’t seen a real substantial shift since the mid 80s, to be totally honest, and it’s pretty much plateaued since then.

Lisa: Interesting. Well, I could see that, and I think that’s really a great just piece of actionable advice for couples is that when there is a uptick in the amount of literal work that needs to be done, if you’re now moving in together, or having a child or buying a home, the more work that needs to be done. There’s sort of this natural unconscious thing for the person who has more of those caretaking tendencies to start taking care of things and that it can be very easy to slip into. Okay, so this has been so wonderful to help us develop a picture of what this is, why it happens. 

Now, if it’s okay, and the last bits of our time together, I’d love to talk a little bit more deeply about the things that you’ve learned over the course of your research that are steps couples can take when they notice that they’ve slid into this dynamic, it’s creating stress or discomfort or resentment. What can people do to begin backing themselves out of it and recalibrating the balance and their relationships so that it feels more equitable for both people?

Kate: Good question. Let me just start by saying that I, very openly, am not necessarily advocating that all people have equal partnerships. If your family can afford for one of you to stay home, and that works for you, and everyone’s happy, or one of you can work part time, that’s fantastic. I mean, life is hard. Being in a partnership is hard. If it’s working, that’s great. So some people, they say, we don’t have an equal partnership, but I’m okay with it. I’m the first one to say…

Lisa: Fantastic. Just for a second, how are you defining equal partnership?

Kate: Okay, so that’s a good place to start. I say equal partnership is doing that at 10,000 feet, you’re both doing 50% of the physical tasks in the home and 50% of the cognitive tasks. So you’re not following each other around with a clipboard every day checking off who’s doing what. We all know that’s probably a recipe for a disaster. But over the course of months, over the course of years, are you doing about 50% of the physical and cognitive labor. each one of you? 

We know that life ebbs and flows. There will be times when there’s a sick parent, or there’s a special work project, and one of you will step up, and it will be something like 70-30 or 80-20. We understand that. So we’re looking at broad, broad strokes, and we are looking at, do you share physical tasks, and do you share a cognitive labor? So that’s how I would define equal partnership.

Lisa: To what degree — just for the people listening to this who might have this question in their mind, I’ll ask for them — to what degree does financial support or economic work kind of fall into that equality equation? I guess I should say.

Kate: Right. So in all the couples I interviewed, both people were working full time outside of the home. They were both contributing. Now, if one of you is part time, or one of you is a stay at home, then I think that’s a valid conversation to talk about how much of that you’re going to bring in and give. I do think that economics can be an excuse sometimes because we hear people sometimes say, “oh, my wife earns less than I do, so she does more in the home to compensate.”

However, we have data that suggests when the woman earns more than her male partner, he doesn’t step up. She just has purchasing power to outsource more work. So that’s a bit of a hypocritical excuse that I tend to push back on when I hear people say that.

Lisa: Thank you for explaining that. It’s good to hear.

Kate: In my definition, both people are contributing to the family in an economic sense, then equality is what are you doing in terms of household work. 

Lisa: Got it. Okay. So with that said, so the goal is equality as defined by that really, truly shared set of responsibilities. How can couples create that when it’s been out of balance?

Kate: So I think setting expectations, if possible, having this conversation as you’re becoming a couple. So I think the best thing to do is when couples are coming together, moving in together, getting married, getting engaged, making a commitment, it’s probably not going to be at the top of their mind, because we all remember what it’s like to be young and falling in love. You’re probably not thinking about who’s going to do the dishes. 

So this is when I think family members and friends can step up and help. I would love this topic to be brought up, older siblings to talk about it with younger siblings, younger cousins to say, “Listen, this has a real impact down the road, 10, 15, 20 years later. The more you can talk about it now and come to consensus, the better you’re going to be.” Once you’re already in a partnership and you have established patterns, it’s harder. 

I mean, I fully acknowledge that. If one of you is the cognitive labor in the home, and one of you doesn’t realize how much work is being done, that’s tricky, and that’s harder. But I think that the best place to start in those circumstances is to not talk about us as a couple specifically, but to talk about those patterns, those broad patterns.

Look at statistics from our culture, from our society, and then have that conversation to say, “Here’s what’s happening broadly. I see us falling into that pattern, and I think that’s going to have negative ramifications for both of us. So could we have a conversation about what frustrations we might both be feeling right now, and talk about what we could do to help each other with each other’s burdens so that we don’t feel future.”

Lisa: Yeah. Okay. But that’s good, though. So for people around a couple to be sharing this wisdom and helping them think about this ahead of time so that they can be having those conversations, and those conversations should be, how do we create balance around the things that we’re doing that also makes space for what each of us value and finding areas of compromise around standards of cleanliness and what needs to happen in order to keep a home running, and what sorts of things are worth thinking about versus what aren’t to build that bridge to the center, where there’s space for both people to be participating in the creation of what it is that we, as a family want to be doing. 

Kate: Yeah, precisely. That was beautifully put. So the bulk of the middle section of my book as I identified, interviewed these 40 men who are equal partners in their home and I was trying to extract lessons from them. What was interesting is when I started the research, and I asked them, “What did you give up to be an equal partner?”

They very quickly corrected me and said, “No, no, I’m not giving up,” because I was thinking you’re giving up Saturday afternoons. You’re giving up time at work. You’re giving up freedom. They’re like, “No, no, no, I’m not giving up anything. I live this way because it benefits me. I live this way because it makes me happy. I live this way because I have an amazing relationship with my partner. I have great relationship with my kids. I can be my own genuine self in the home. This is what makes me happy.”

So that kind of goes back to how we started this conversation. It’s not necessarily a justice argument. It’s a well-being argument, right? That the men I interviewed said, I’m an equal partner because I want to be.

Lisa: That’s so wonderful and to be reframing this goal of balance and equality as for the benefit of both partners, and that people who have those more identified male roles to be able to help them understand all the positives that come out of shifting into being a more active participator in the work and the emotional labor and the decision making and the paying attention. 

Have you found similar benefits to people in those sort of female coded roles around maybe releasing some of the expectations or rules that they may have inherited from the culture about what they shouldn’t be doing? Is their equal benefit there? 

Kate: Hugely, hugely. Absolutely, I think that there’s, first of all, you have more time. So I think that’s like the first fantastic outcome is that if that person in your household is doing more then you’re doing less, so you have a little bit more flexibility, and you have more time together, perhaps. You might be able to take advantage of professional opportunities that you weren’t able to before. 

Then getting out, you are talking about, I think for sure, just the lessening of burden that instead of feeling like the house has to be perfect before I go to bed, or I have to do all of this for my kids before I can start my weekend. You let that go, and I think that there’s a lot of work that women can do to help women let things go, that we don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be responsible for all the little things. We can let things go. We can let other people step up. I think that that’s an emotional and mental release that’s hard to put a price tag on that, but I think it’s valuable.

Lisa: It just made me feel better. That is actually perfectly acceptable to feed your family cheese and crackers and baby carrots for dinner and call it good, on paper plates.

Kate: My husband is the chef in our house and every time I need to feed my kids because he’s out or busy, I call it anti pasta and I just but it’s basically cheese and crackers and little rolled up pieces of salami and everyone does just fine and they make it to tomorrow.

Lisa: Very lastly, before I let you go, one of my big takeaways from this conversation is that these roles that we can fall into, whether we want to or not, can be very insidious, and they begin so early. We are really trained in many ways around what is important, what we should be doing, what other people should be doing and even just having this conversation, reflecting on my own life experience, you know that, it starts very early.

What parents do, the messages that they’re sending to children around their role in the world and expectations, are profoundly important. Do you have any insight into things that parents can consciously be doing to make this work easier for their children in their own relationships in terms of gender messages or expectations in the home? 

Kate: Absolutely. This is a subject that I’m probably most passionate about, because I think that the next generations are sort of the opportunity that we have to make real substantial change. It was great listening to your own personal story. I think that the last 10, 15 years, your parents were ahead of their time, God bless them. I think we’ve done a better job at raising girls. 

I think we’ve started to make girls realize, and we have work to do with girls of color, but we are, little by little, helping girls to realize they can do anything they want, that we support them, that there are no glass ceilings, that they can achieve the highest levels of whatever they want to achieve. My daughter has all these books about good night stories for rebel girls, a lot of titles around empowerment and achievement and leadership in women. I think those are all wonderful, and I think we need to do more of that. I don’t see enough being done with boys.

I think that there is a lot of work that parents and grandparents and anyone who has children in their life, coaches, teachers to do work around raising boys to embrace care work. So we need to be buying boys’ dolls. We need to be talking to boys about you’re going to be a great dad. Maybe you’ll be a great daddy someday or working with play kitchens. Making sure that we provide boys with toys that will help them relate to care work and practice care work.

We need to verbalize, it’s important that everyone in our family does care work for each other and degender that, right, make sure you help. One of the things that came out of my research from the 40 men that I interviewed is many of them had opportunities to be caregivers in their teens, and that had a huge impact on them as an adult. 

They realize that they love being with kids. It might have been because they were a camp counselor, because they had younger siblings or younger cousins, or for one of them, their mom started dating someone new and he had little kids. But all of those experiences made them realize, there was this parental pull inside of them that was really important and that they wanted to nurture that as they grew up. 

If boys don’t have that opportunity, how do they know that’s something that they want to do when they’re growing up? So I think trying to introduce boys to care was really important. The other thing that came out of my research is helping boys to articulate emotions is incredibly important. If boys are better able to name their emotions, then they are better able to empathize with others who have those emotions as an adult.

So when their partner someday says, “I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling trapped. I’m feeling taken advantage of.” Those are emotions that those men have felt and have identified, and then they can then empathize and work with their partner to fix that.

Lisa: Yeah, those are fantastic recommendations. I love that and it’s the duality, certainly socializing girls and young women into empowerment and to actualize their full potential in all domains of life, including occupationally and in school and not limiting to them to just these caretaker roles. 

But then, it’s also just as important to be really actively socializing boys to develop the fullness of their potential as well into their emotional intelligence, their understanding of caretaking but also like an appreciation of that work and an empathetic understanding of what that is. Okay. My son when he gets home from his camp today, he already doesn’t know how to operate the washing machine, but I think it’s time to hand him a toilet brush. That’s next.

Oh, okay, you guys. Dr. Kate Mangino. Where should our listeners go, Kate, if they’d like to learn more about you, your work, buy your book … Buy your book and leave it on their partner side of the bed?

Kate: You know when we designed the book and you can’t see it, because this is a podcast, but it we use primary colors. There was a reason because we didn’t want it to scream angry feminist book because it’s not an angry one. We wanted it to be a book that everyone, no matter what the gender identity, would feel comfortable picking it up. I’ve already heard feedback from many women who bought the book and haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but it was sitting on a table or a nightstand and their male partner picked it up and said, “hey, let’s talk about cognitive labor,” so you never know. 

It’s already happened. It might be a dream, but it might happen. So anyway, the book is called Equal Partners: Improving Gender Equality at Home. I tried to stay updated on my website katemangino.com, and I’m active on Twitter. My handle is @manginokate.

Lisa: Such an amazing conversation. I really appreciated everything that you had to share. On behalf of our listeners, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. I think we probably have a lot of people listening to this conversation who are thinking about their relationships in a different way, and also being very grateful for the takeaways that you’ve shared about the conversations they can start having with each other to reshift these balances. So thank you so much.

Kate: Thank you for giving me the opportunity. It was a delight to talk to you today.

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