Part 1: Let me count the ways, it sucks to be XX and not XY

This piece was written for International Women’s Day 2024.

Words by Josephine Renee (she/her) 23 QLD

Abortions cost $500.

For those who menstruate you will spend roughly $10,000 on period care products throughout your life.

$11,000 on the Pill. The oral contraceptive pill is only 63 years old and there is no definitive research on the long-term side effects of what putting hormones daily into your body will do.

Regulating your hormones will be a lifelong pursuit from the age of 12 until you die.

There’s more housework too. A woman will do at least 7 hours more a week in a relationship with a man. That’s before you have kids. You might argue men do all the maintenance tasks. Roughly 2 hours more a week than women.

This doesn’t change when the wife is the primary breadwinner either. She will still spend 1.5 hours more on care and 2 hours more on housework, every day.

So, men, can you pull a bit more of your own fucking weight?

Australian women are among the most educated in the world.

Half of us aged 25 – 34 have a bachelor’s degree. Whereas only a third of Australian men in the same age category do. Women outperform men academically, blitzing them in school exams and at university. So why are we not in boardrooms and dominating electoral campaigns?

If you’re a man, decorate your office space with pictures of your family as it shows you can be a good provider. If you’re a woman, do not hang any photos. People will assume you would rather be somewhere else. Wouldn’t we all?

Schools were asked why they always called the mother’s number first, despite where it was on their emergency list. It was because men didn’t pick up or they didn’t want to bother them at work. What about a woman’s work?

There is no reprieve or special treatment, we must still pay the same for groceries, rent, education, and medical expenses.

Men should be afforded the same opportunities to look after their children. And be seen as legitimate reliable caregivers within a shared parental role with their partners. That should be the expectation too. May I remind you it takes both a man and a woman to create a baby?

This is at the heart of our inequality, the womb penalty. The asinine accusations that women must be the main caregivers. Not that it’s a shared role existing within a partnership.

Ultimately, being a woman sucks, especially within a system that’s against you. You’re far too focused on surviving and balancing the mental state and pain of your body at any given time to focus on the external worries of the world sometimes.

Did you know Australia was the first country in the world to grant women the dual right to vote and stand in federal elections? How could we be so progressive in 1902 yet so apathetic 122 years later?

Is it because of the radical suffragettes of Australia’s past, such as Louie Cullen and many others who endured weeks of imprisonment and went on hunger strikes, force-fed via tubes down their nostrils? Muriel Matters, an Australian, chained herself to the ironwork partition in the Ladies’ Gallery that obstructed their view from the proceeding in the House of Commons. She was the first woman to perform a speech in the British parliament.

This harmful stereotype that women should be doing the brunt of the housework and childrearing is deeply damaging. Especially to our wallets!

I know I’m privileged that this is one of my greatest concerns. Other women can’t afford nearly the same luxuries as me, to have a voice, to have choices. And with my voice I can say, GO FUCK YOURSELF.


Illustration by Aileen. You can find more of her work on Instagram @aileenngstudio

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