Whether we like it or not, the society we live in treats women and men differently. In some cases, such identity can even be a deciding factor. Back in the day, women are expected to be mothers, homemakers, or household help and are denied the fundamental right to vote.
Thankfully, those days are gone, and we are seeing the light shining on women, though we still have a long way to go. Women play an important role in keeping the basic unit of society and the society in general together. Let’s take a look at the highs and lows of being a woman.
Women live longer than men today. Studies show that hormones and chromosome differences affect lifespan. Men are likely to have more visceral fat—fat surrounding the organs, while women, more subcutaneous fat—fat under the skin. The difference is due to estrogen and the second X chromosome in women; it’s vital to longevity since visceral fat predicts cardiovascular diseases.
Men’s smoking habits and risk-taking behavior have also affected their mortality rate. According to National Center for Health Statistics, men’s life expectancy is 73.3 while women’s, 81.4.
Although menstruation brings monthly anguish, one in eight women experiences infertility. While it is easy to complain when the dreaded days come, menstruation is a good indicator of the healthy reproductive system, adrenal glands, thyroid, liver, gall bladder, and others. Tracking it will also help women determine whether they are in the normal cycle since outside that may flag underlying health issues. It also creates sisterhood since menstruation is something every woman can relate to.
Success in the Workplace
Research finds that having women in the workplace makes an organization a better place to work in. Even the Fortune 500 companies with the highest number of women on boards outperform companies with the lowest number of women on boards financially. Women also have the soft skills essential in leadership.
A study shows that women are better than men in 11 out of 12 key emotional intelligence competencies such as conflict management, emotional self-awareness, adaptability, empathy, and teamwork.
Untimely and unwanted pregnancy
Let’s face it when two people engage in sexual intercourse, which resulted in a child; the man can still impregnate about 270 more women in 9 months. However, when it comes to a woman, it can result in an untimely pregnancy which she needs to bear for 3 quarters. After pregnancy, life will never be the same for her since she now has a child to take care of, while the man can still live his life as it was before. Women also suffer from unwanted touching, sexual assault, or rape.
Because of this, some women resort to abortion since it is difficult to have a constant reminder of such an unfortunate event. Society also frowns upon single mothers without considering the stories behind it.
Since women are the ones who get to bear children, they are also prone to having miscarriages. This varies based on genetics, lifestyles, ages, and other factors. Men and women respond to pregnancy loss differently. Women tend to suffer more since miscarriage also results in clinical depression and/or anxiety for up to three years after such an event. It is difficult to handle the pain of an expectant mother whose joy turned to grief. Thus, they must get the love, support, and understanding they need during such trying times.
Although we have already moved past an era where women are denied the right to suffrage and education and are reduced to house chores, the pandemic has highlighted the fact that women are still at a disadvantage. Violence, exploitation, child marriage, borderline slavery are just some inequalities women face aside from and amidst the global crisis.
We hope the number of cases of women not getting the best in life because of their gender will be reduced and eventually eliminated. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, we need to fix systems—not women.
Women are the ones who gave, give, and will give birth to the old, today’s, and the next generation. They are pillars of strength and courage who manage to be delicate and compassionate at the same time. Women deserve better treatment and recognition. As Michelle Obama pointed out, “the difference between a broken community and a thriving one is the presence of women who are valued.”