Do Women Work Harder Than Men? And Other Gender Issues.

January 4th, 2011

I’ve heard 2/3rds of the world’s manual labor is done by women.  A quick search on Google didn’t substantiate this fact, but I still wouldn’t be surprised if it were true.

From my unofficial observations, women DO work harder than men.

If you believe the creation account as given in the Hebrew Old Testament, the first woman was created after the first man, and was designed as a complementing partner, an excelling helper.  Of course, this implies Adam NEEDED help, which he most certainly did, as all men have since. 

In Romans 16 the Apostle Paul gives his greetings to a number of co-laborers.  I put together a list comparing the ratio of men to women he mentioned, with the descriptive title he gave for each:

Notes from Romans 16

So Paul mentions six women and only two men.  One of the men (Aquila) was a husband to one of the women (Priscilla) and between the two men mentioned, neither were commended for working hard.  On the other hand, four of the women were listed as "hard workers."  And Paul said one of the ladies (Mary) worked VERY hard.

I’ve noticed women can be such wonderful workers in their own right they don’t always see need for men.  The reality is, the Bible teaches, both men and women are happiest when playing the roles they were designed for.  Ladies seem capable of performing either role with ease, whereas many guys seem to struggle with their own.

Backing up, from my understanding of Holy Scripture, men and women do have equal worth, but different roles.  Biblical New Testament Christianity clearly ascribes gender equality amongst Believers:

"There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."  (Galatians 3:28)

And the Bible also states men and women have the same destiny, a belief which would differ greatly from other religions such as Islam:

"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers." (1 Peter 3:7)

I can hear it now, "Sexist! How could Peter say women are weaker?!"  It may not be politically correct to say, but in certain respects (most obviously physically, and perhaps that’s the only category), women are weaker: on average and also in the extremes.  For instance, height:  The average American woman is 5′-4", whereas the average American man is 5′-9.5". (source for height demographics

And when we go to the extreme, the same trend holds.  The world record for bench pressing is held by Ryan Kennelly, who has lifted 1,075 pounds.  The female world record for bench pressing is Becca Swanson, who’s pressed 600 pounds.  Granted, I personally can only bench about the weight of the bar, and these folks are probably on steroids, but my point is that, in general, the average man is stronger physically than the average woman. 

So I don’t think we should roll Peter under the bus for his observation.  Especially since it was written 2,000 years ago when political correctness wasn’t all the rage.

What is more amazing is the second part of his statement, where Peter unabashedly recognizes men and women have the same destinies: both are heirs together of the promise of life.  And both will be judged equally by the same standards at the judgment seat of Christ.  Positionally, the Bible teaches men and women are equal.

In our society today, I see gender lines blurry at best and non-existent at worst.  In July 2010,  Newsweek ran an article entitled, Women Will Rule the World.  It listed the following stats:

In the US, women…

  • …outnumber men in the attainment of college degrees by 20 percent
  • …hold 89 percent of all bank accounts
  • …made 83 percent of all consumer purchases last year
  • …represented 72 percent of class valedictorians last year

Nature abhors a vacuum.  Men vacated and women filled.  Or women invaded and men fled.  Not sure which.  Either way, I say it’s no time for women to stand back; rather, it’s HIGH time for men to step forward. 

What do you think?

4 Responses to “Do Women Work Harder Than Men? And Other Gender Issues.”

  1. hope naomi Says:

    interesting outline of romans 16! i never saw it that way before. i’m still not sure where i stand/what i understand exactly about gender roles, but i like very much that you said men should stand up rather than women backing down. how refreshing – especially from a male perspective! i thank you for that.

  2. nick Says:

    thanks hope. there are several young ladies in my sphere who have loads of initiative and zeal for things of the Lord, and over time I’ve become convinced with the idea they should never be discouraged, even when it’s making us guys look bad :-)

  3. Becca Swanson Says:

    My friend, if you bench 50 lbs 12 times, we will count it as 600… (big smile). And true I was playing by rules not accustom to everyone, long story, I hope to write about one day. But the amount of work, none the less, was crazy. It took me a DECADE to achieve that goal.

    That being said, even the strongest woman in the world (me), would like to find a man to fill the Utilitarian role of protector/provider… leaving me to happily nurture him and our children. As a stay at home Mom, I could write that book and master the stock market ;o). Barefoot and pregnant… HARDLY. :)

    God Bless!!

  4. nick Says:

    thanks Becca for commenting, your perspective is an interesting one

    i am convinced you HAVE worked hard – like i said, i can hardly lift anything… :-)

    and you SHOULD write your story someday, people would be interested.

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