Man or woman: Which life is more difficult?


Fact Box

  • According to a Pew Research Center report, 35% of those polled think that men “have it easier in our country these days,” while only 9% felt that women do. 
  • Advocates of the idea of “female privilege” cite common arguments for their case such as: women are recipients of chivalrous behavior; women do not need to provide for a family; women can marry rich if they don’t want to work; women are allowed to be emotional; women are accepted into colleges more often than men; women are more likely to win custody battles; men have higher rates of suicide.
  • Patriarchy is defined as a “hypothetical social system in which the father or a male elder has absolute authority over the family group; by extension, one or more men (as in a council) exert absolute authority over the community as a whole.”
  • In 2018, Forbes revealed that of the top 100 billionaires in the world, only 8 were women. 
  • A study by the American Psychological Association found that gender affects mental health in different ways, relating that “women are more likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression, while men tend toward substance abuse or antisocial disorders.”

Elizabeth (Man)

Being human is undeniably difficult. And while women have historically had it more difficult, the immense strides made, particularly in western societies over the past 50+ years, have not only leveled the playing field but may even be tilting it toward favoring women. 

Men experience some disadvantages starting in childhood, as boys can have less parental involvement in their lives, compared to girls. And boys are also inundated with harsher expectations of behavior to 'be a man' (i.e., strong, unemotional)—a tendency that can be exacerbated in homes without a father. These trends continue into adulthood and are compounded by increasingly poorer school performance, including lower graduation rates and fewer post-high school degrees, shrinking job market, etc. 

Men have a shorter life expectancy due in part to their domination of high-risk jobs, military involvement, longer commutes, and how they handle stress compared to women. Suicide and prison sentences are higher, while cancer survival rates are lower. 

Men are also expected to be both strong and yet simultaneously sensitive, breadwinners while still being present when home—not only mechanic and handyman but also cook and cleaner. 

While #MeToo began as a necessary backlash to some men's despicable behavior, it has expanded to demonize men in general and prioritize women's stories over men's even though duplicity isn't isolated to the male gender. 

From childhood, boys are told they are a step behind girls academically, socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Further, the anti-male wing of feminism has continued this trend into adult men's lives, removing any question as to why many men struggle. Modern times have made life more difficult for men. 

Maha (Woman)

Nothing about womanhood is easy.

Being born into this gender comes with the guarantee of 450 periods in a lifetime, meaning women need to deal with mild to severe symptoms for 3,500 days of their lives. And not only during their menstruation but also up to two weeks before its onset. Despite the associated physical pain and mood disorders, women are expected to perform both inside and outside the house. 

In terms of work, women still contribute the most to household tasks and childcare. And according to a study by Hive, they also work 10% harder than men. Unfortunately, their contributions at work are yet to be fully rewarded, as women are paid 82 cents to every dollar earned by men. And the gender wage gap grows more significant for women of color.   

Womanhood also comes with its fair share of dangers. Females are at a higher risk of becoming victims of sexual violence. Rainn reports that 82% of juvenile victims are female, while girls aged 16-19 are four times more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Studies show that victims can develop disorders and destructive behaviors such as post-traumatic stress disorder, drug abuse, and suicidal thoughts

Despite these problems, not much is done to make women’s lives easier. One reason for this is the lack of females in government. While women make up 25% of the 117th Congress, this percentage is nothing compared to the female share of the overall population. Therefore, decisions for women are mainly made by men! 

These issues alone show how women have a long (and possibly winding) journey before they can feel at ease, but here’s hoping it won’t take more time.

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