The news report caught my eyes: “Study reveals that women are literally working themselves to death.”

Data shows that women who work longer hours – 50-60+ hours a week have elevated (in some cases triple) risks for heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, hypertension, asthma and depression. Women’s health risks are higher than that for men.


Photo: Dreamstime

Women in this country fought hard to win the right to work outside the home, and we’re still fighting to earn the same wages as men. Equity in the workplace has always been a goal and has made many of us work harder and longer hours to prove ourselves. How unfair to find that while women may still earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to men, they’ve exceeded the equity gap when it comes to more health risks from working longer hours.

According to a 2015 Pew Study women are now the breadwinners in 40% of all households in the USA. We also are the primary caregivers for our children as well as for our aging parents. Many women are in charge of the household finances, health care decisions and shopping for food and clothing for the family. No wonder we are getting sick! There’s no time in the day to take care of ourselves.

We’ve learned that “having it all” can mean “doing it all.” The problem is that it’s doing many women in. Overwork, underpay and less time to care for yourself don’t add up.

So, what’s the solution? Take back your time. Delegate more. Work just as hard taking care of your self as you do taking care of your business and your family. It has to be a decision that you make and that you stick to and that your family and your employer support. We need advocacy for women’s health both in the home and in the workplace.

We’ve fought for the right to work side by side with men; we’re still fighting for equal pay. Now let’s fight for our right to maintain our health through flexible hours, telecommuting, workplace wellness and childcare programs. Women have proven they can get the job done; now let’s do a better job making sure our health is protected.

Hard work is good. Overwork is not.