Being a Woman – A Daily Struggle

March is Women’s History Month, a month to acknowledge the contributions and struggles women have made in history. But despite the gains women have achieved, they still remain underpaid at work, unequally burdened with childcare and housework, and face abuse on a daily basis. The struggle of being a woman is far from over and in some cases it is going backwards.

Being a woman means doing it all. Women are day care workers, housekeepers, cooks, janitors, psychologists, drivers. When both a man and a woman are working – or even when only the man is unemployed – the woman still does the majority of the housework. It’s like working an unpaid second job. According to, stay-at-home moms put in close to 100 hours of household and childcare duties every single week. If this were paid work the average mom’s salary would be $113,586 a year.

And working moms, on top of 40-hour work weeks, spend an additional 58 hours on household and childcare jobs. If they were paid an average wage, they would earn an additional $67,435 per year. Being a woman means figuring out the
impossible. Finding childcare is always a struggle especially while trying to make a living. The waitlists for childcare programs never seem to end and further cuts to food and housing assistance have only made a bad situation even worse.

Mothers can’t afford not to work and still take care of the kids. This often means leaving a child at home and going to work. It comes down to hoping everyday that things work out, at least until tomorrow. Being a woman today means unequal pay and work. On top of all the unpaid hours women put in, a woman today can still expect to be paid less than men simply because she is a woman. It’s true, women’s struggles have somewhat closed the wage-gap between men and women but it’s still far from equal. And working mothers face even more wage discrimination. There is a larger wage-gap between mothers and women without children than there is between women and men. Women without children can expect to earn 10 percent less than their male counterparts. Mothers earn 27 percent less, and single mothers earn between 34 percent and 44 percent less than men.

On top of all this there is a daily threat of violence that comes with being a woman in general. Most often the murders and beatings of women are done by their male partners. The leading cause of death for pregnant women in the U.S. is
being murdered by their partners. But even more often, women survive the violence, battered and beaten with scars lasting a lifetime. The number one cause of injury to women in the U.S. is being brutalized by men. One out of every three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, one out of five women have been raped in their lives, and one in four women have been the victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

Violence against women stretches across borders. A woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read. On average a woman is raped every 17 seconds in South Africa. There is the story of Malala Yousufzai, the schoolgirl shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban for advocating education for girls. Not long after there was the gruesome case of a young woman
brutally gang raped on a bus and left for dead in India. None of this has happened without a fight though. Women have been incredibly courageous in the face of oppression, holding protests, organizing rallies, and pushing forward.

Working more, working harder, getting less, and struggling to hold families together. These are the struggles that women face in the world today. If Women’s History Month is to acknowledge anything, it should be that the struggle of  women around the world is far from over.