It’s no secret that women tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves — especially at work. Between all the effort that goes into our appearance every single day (hair, makeup, outfit, nails…), the stuff always going on in the back of our minds (children, taking care of elderly parents, etc.) and the constant need to prove ourselves (unequal pay, anyone?), well it’s no wonder women are more stressed out at work than men.
And now there’s a study to prove it.
According to a study by the U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive, psychiatrists can now confirm that women not only suffer much more work-related stress than their male counterparts, but they also have higher levels of anxiety and depression as well.
The study found that the trend was true for women aged 25 to 54, with pressure peaking for women in the 35 to 44 age group. This is likely thanks to women having to deal with family responsibilities, causing their poor work-life balance to result in a whole new layer of stress, anxiety and depression.
So why the huge discrepancy? Outside of children and ailing parents (which many men deal with too), the workplace itself accounts for a large part of the problem. Women constantly have to worry about whether they’re valued, receiving unequal pay for the same job, being expected to look the part, facing other job insecurities and having unequal networking time with male bosses.
Here’s the good news: it might not be that bad for all women. While the sampling in the study consisted of 38,000 households in the U.K. (with women roughly 1.4 times more likely to experience work-related stress than men), many of the females in question had jobs that were more likely to come with inherent pressure, like nursing or teaching. So it’s not just that women are more stressed out, it’s that they’re also take on some of society’s most stressful jobs.
While there’s not much to be done about having a stressful job itself, employers at other companies could offer flexible work hours and the opportunity to work remotely to help repair employee mental health.
And, let’s face it, we could all stop putting so much pressure on ourselves to always look the part. Since when did being clean, dressed and ready to get to work stop becoming the standard anyhow? Kind of gives you a whole new respect for women, doesn’t it?