The Larger Picture: A Designerly Approach to Making the Invisible Domestic Workloads of Working Women Visible

Research output: Contribution to conferencesPaperContributedpeer-review


  • Dhriti Dhaundiyal - , Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) (Author)
  • Sanket Pai - , Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) (Author)
  • Mechthild Cramer - , Technical University of Braunschweig (Author)
  • Sandra Buchmüller - , Technical University of Braunschweig (Author)
  • Sugandh Malhotra - , Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) (Author)
  • Corinna Bath - , Technical University of Braunschweig (Author)


The pandemic in 2020 and the resultant global lockdown led to new dynamics in the homestead. Families faced an accelerated process of digitization of conventional processes like education and white collar jobs. Working women with children of school or kindergarten age were forced to redraw the boundaries between the personal and the professional as the entire family essentially functioned from home, which increased prevalent gender inequalities. Tasks like 'planning', care-giving, emotional care etc. go unaccounted for and remain invisible to other members of the household. We present a feminist design research project that explores how design research can contribute to greater social justice and gender equality by a fairer distribution of domestic labour. We conducted semi-structured interviews in India during the pandemic lockdown, to elicit both explicit as well as tacit information on daily workloads of working women with families. We found disparity in domestic duties between genders, with specific regard to the circumstances created by the 2020 pandemic conditions. Based on our findings and analysis, we prototyped a visualization tool that makes invisible domestic work visible. Our research contribution is a design research methodology to generate insights to enable creation of design interventions for social justice. This was achieved through use of established design research methods, that are conventionally used in face-to-face settings, which were then adapted to exceptional pandemic conditions that required social distancing where communication was remote, and usually virtual.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


Title5th Asian CHI Symposium
Conference number
Duration7 - 8 May 2021
Degree of recognitionInternational event


Sustainable Development Goals