"Research conducted before the crisis showed that when men do their fair share of chores, partners are happier and less depressed," Sheryl Sandberg writes

By Jen Juneau
March 27, 2020 12:15 PM
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As the novel coronavirus continues to spread and keep families indoors, Sheryl Sandberg has a message for the men out there: Don’t be afraid to pitch in.

While sharing a New York Times article titled ” ‘I Feel Like I Have Five Jobs’: Moms Navigate the Pandemic” on Thursday, the Facebook chief operating officer proclaimed in her Instagram caption, “Now more than ever, men need to step up at home.”

“Research conducted before the crisis showed that when men do their fair share of chores, partners are happier and less depressed and suffer fewer conflicts,” says Sandberg, 50. “Kids benefit too, and they get to see what gender equality looks like up-close. At a time when many of us are staying home — as our incredible healthcare workers and others fight tirelessly on the frontlines of this crisis — every step towards progress counts.”

Earlier in her caption, Sandberg explains that “Women make up the majority of the healthcare workforce. And regardless of industry or whether they work outside the home, women still do most of the housework in heterosexual partnerships.”

“This burden only increases with the added pressures of homeschooling, working from home, and keeping loved ones healthy,” adds the mother of two.

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In the Times article, editor-at-large Jessica Bennett speaks to various women who have unexpectedly taken on the task of not only working from home, but remaining the managers of their respective households, which often includes childcare.

One Massachusetts-based mom — Sarah Joyce Willey, who works for a health services company as a chief client officer — said, “I feel like I have five jobs: mom, teacher, C.C.O., house cleaner, chef,” sharing that she parents a 7- and 9-year-old while her husband is at work out of the house.

“My kids also call me ‘Principal Mommy’ and the ‘lunch lady.’ It’s exhausting,” she added.

Nan Krafft, a mother who works in tech, says the relationship dynamic is “like fighting about which movie you’re going to watch but with your job and your ego and your mental wellness on the line,” joking, “I think we’ve all joked now about, like, what is the mortality rate for marriages in this virus.”

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Bennet references a recent study published Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation that found women were more likely than men to “worry about getting sick and losing income” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We have societal expectations and gender roles that have been very hard to change,” said Kaiser women’s health policy director Alina Salganicoff, Ph.D., in the Times story about the pattern of at-home labor division. “So managing health — whether it’s kids’ health, a spouse’s health, or caregiving to parents and often to in-laws — these are responsibilities that are often shouldered by women.”

A Times database reports that the number of confirmed U.S. cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, was at 75,178 on Thursday afternoon, with the total domestic death toll hitting 1,069. According to Johns Hopkins, worldwide, there have been 511,603 confirmed cases and 23,067 deaths.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO and local public health departments, and visit our coronavirus hub.