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First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom talks about her new documentary

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom talks about her new documentary
First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom talks about her new documentary 04:28

SACRAMENTO -- Last week First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom expressed her outrage in response to the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.  

Siebel Newsom is a filmmaker and powerful voice for women. Just days before that ruling, she sat down with KPIX 5 anchor Juliette Goodrich to talk about the latest documentary she directed called "Fair Play." The film looks at major cultural shifts toward gender equity at home. 

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom
First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom talks about her new documentary CBS

It's very clear: First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom is an open book and an advocate for women.

"My sweet husband was raised by a single mom. His mom was a wonder woman, and every once in a while I say, 'I am not a wonder woman.'  I cannot hold anymore and i think it's important we look at the patterns of our socialization," said Siebel Newsom.

Her new documentary inspired by the bestselling book also entitled "Fair Play." It follows three families from around the country on their journeys to find balance at home. in real time and real life. There's no Hollywood glitz here.

"I wanted real life," she explained.

It was filmed during the pandemic, which was a balancing act in and of itself.

"We all joked because -- again, the majority of us were working mothers -- and we joked we were living and breathing this experience as we were making this film," Siebel Newsom said.

She says the only silver lining with the pandemic was, "We finally saw for men and women, it's too much."

So what exactly is "fair play?" She says it starts with all time being created equal. She says there is a perception that a man's time is more valuable..

"My husband's time -- even though he is the governor of California, the fifth largest economy in the world -- is as valuable as mine, although society doesn't see it that way," she said.

The film looks at the need for not a 50/50 split of time and effort, but perceived fairness.

"We are not saying for example, to my husband he has to do 50% of domestic work and childcare. We are saying he has to get us to a perception of fairness," Siebel Newsom explained.

She says it's making the invisible care work historically held by women visible. 

"Some of the benefits to men: they are happier, they are healthier, they are less dependent on meds," she said. "They live longer and have better sex lives. For women, I mean hello?! When your partner is doing a fair share of work at home, you are happier. And you are less stressed and you live longer."

And if you need specifics. she has them.

"The film looks at all of the benefits to men, individually, and women and children when men do at least fifty minutes or forty percent of the childcare and domestic work at home," she said.

She says she hopes it inspires a cultural shift towards gender equity at home.

"Often times, you need the cultural change to get policy work through. And so that is what I think this film is about," said Siebel Newsom.

And speaking of those in government?

"Gavin loved the film," she said.

She explained he actually helped her change the opening to the documentary when it didn't quite click with him. She  realized she needed to draw men in quicker.

"He was like, 'I don't get it. What is this movie about?' He said, 'You have to pull the audience in.' I was like, 'OK, wanna be filmmaker?' Gotcha!" she said with a laugh.

So she started the documentary with men talking about the "perceived" percentage of work they did at home, and she says that did the trick. 

"We did and I love that it helped and it gave the film real clarity and draws you in," said Siebel Newsom.

The documentary will be released at the beginning of July. More information on the film is available on the official "Fair Play" website.  

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