Report Shows Women are More Stressed at Work, Something Has Got to Give

News. Posted 9 months ago

Rosie Dalton

Image: movie still from The Devil Wears Prada. Image source.

According to a leading psychiatrist, women suffer considerably higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression than men. Part of this comes down to workplace sexism and familial responsibilities, both of which provide additional career pressures. And also the fact that, from the age of 25, women generally feel more stress than men, which continues throughout their working lives, according to figures published by the Health and Safety Executive. These statistics are based on the Labour Force Survey, which interviews 38,000 households quarterly. And demonstrate that women aged 25-54 are more stressed than their male colleagues, with this pressure peaking for those between the ages of 35 and 44 — a time when many women are also juggling family responsibilities.

The Guardian reports that Dr Judith Mohring, lead consultant psychiatrist at Priory’s Wellbeing Centre in the City of London, said women were under constant, intense pressure, with company restructuring, lack of managerial support and balancing work and family life, all of which leaves them feeling drained. “Women are also unhappy about lower pay than men, job insecurity and lack of potential for career progression,” she explains. “And when push comes to shove, in a restructure they often feel that not having had the time to network with senior – often male – bosses puts them at disproportionate risk.”

Rampant uncertainty is often built into many businesses, Mohring says, but this is something that women tend to bear the brunt of. And not only that, but “many of these changes in organisations actually achieve very little and raise stress rather than productivity – which in itself is counter-productive.” In terms of finding solutions to these issues, Mohring says companies need to offer women more flexible working and better career security and progression. “If companies and organisations are genuinely interested in making their loyal and talented female staff feel less stressed – and I sometimes question if they are – then allowing employees wherever possible to work from home is an important step forward.”

Obviously something does needs to be done, given the report showed that work-related stress, depression and anxiety accounted for 37% of work-related ill health and 45% of days lost in 2015-16. With statisticians stressing that these latest figures “represent a broadly stable trend over recent years”. A trend that Mohring feels is directly related to companies not doing enough to give women equality in the workplace. And, although the occupations and industries reporting the highest rates of work-related stress remain consistently in the health and public sectors of the economy, it does seem to be a problem far broader than just these sorts of businesses.

As The Guardian points out, “some 200,000 men reported work-related stress averaged over the past three years compared to 272,000 women.” Which means that women were 1.4 times more likely to suffer from stress, anxiety and depression. And, with the total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2015-16 being equivalent to an average of 23.9 days per case, we clearly need to see some action taken sooner rather than later.

Via The Guardian

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