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5 Overlooked Ways Women Show Their Strength

Women have long been labeled as the “weaker sex,” and are constantly battling against this laughable stereotype. Naturally, our weakness is determined in comparison to men's apparent strength, which has somehow become the only yardstick for measuring perseverance and power. But strength is much more than heaving heavy objects or crushing corporate competition. If we expand our definition of strength, we quickly discover that women are as strong—if not stronger—than their male counterparts. Here are five feats of strength that women perform on the regular:

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1. Women have babies

Although this example is cited often, it's well worth highlighting again. Why? Because there is virtually zero chance that men could cope with the emotional and physical rollercoaster of pregnancy, or push through the brutality of birth. Carrying and giving birth to a tiny human being is one of the most miraculous things that human body can do … and only women's bodies do it.

2. Women work as tireless caregivers

Nurturing behaviors are often lumped in with the attributes that make women so purportedly "weak," but caregiving is a brave and taxing process. Many of the women I interviewed for my book, Wounded Warrior, Wounded Wife, quit their jobs, abandoned their friends, and completely overhauled their entire lives to care for their injured veteran husbands. Countless others find ways to care for their aging parents or special needs children. That kind of sacrifice takes bravery and true strength.

3. Women face relentless objectification

This one might be tough for non-women to truly understand, but feeling like a sexual object all the time everywhere you go is exhausting. Catcalls are frightening, pick-up lines can turn to shouting matches if not received demurely, the constant barrage of sexualized ads and media makes many women feel inadequate. Moving about in a world that sees you as nothing more than a body takes grit. Living in that world every day takes tenacity.

4. Women infiltrate systems

Men have long been praised for decimating old systems and building new ones. In most arenas, women have not yet achieved the status necessary to be system-builders. But we have become adept at infiltrating current systems and changing them from the inside out. From corporations (Sheryl Sandberg, Ginni Rometty) to politics (Hillary Clinton, Cathy McMorris Rodgers) to sports (Serena Williams, Ronda Rousey), women have patiently worked our way in and enacted change however we can.

5. Women speak up

Speaking up might not seem like an act of strength, but when you consider how Gamergate unfolded, you might think twice. Since the world tends to want women to be quiet and complacent, speaking up takes real chutzpah. Whether it's advocating for your wounded veteran husband at the hospital or asking for the raise you know you deserve, taking part in Black Lives Matter protests or standing up to speak at a town hall meeting, women show our strength by speaking our minds in a world that prefers us silent.

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