Why do women work so hard?

– Why do women work so hard here? Minal asks me over dinner.

– What do you mean? I ask.

– Because women are always working and they don’t seem to get paid well – and it’s the same in Pakistan and here, she replies.

We talk about the global struggle for gender equity, and she reminds me of the homeless woman, who lives under the I-45 bridge at the edge of Houston’s downtown. Sometimes on the drive back to our house we see her, all the way on the top of the cement, and we wonder how she climbed up the slope. Her shopping cart always sits at the bottom, inches away from the freeway.