100% At Office & 101% At Home: Women & Work-Related Stress

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A recent study has revealed that women undergo much higher levels of work-related stress, anxiety and depression than men do.

The study — conducted in Great Britain — released by Health and Safety Executive, states that “Females had a statistically higher rate than males in this period.”

“Within female age categories — the 25-34 years, 35-44 years, 45-54 years — were all statistically higher than the rate for all persons combined at 1,790 cases, 2,250 cases and 2,170 cases respectively. The higher rates reported by females is likely to be a product of the proportion of females in the public services and vocational occupations such as teaching and nursing and cultural differences in attitudes and beliefs between males and females around the subject of stress,” the report stated.

But what causes them to take more stress than men?

To try understanding the same, we spoke to Meera Alva, psychologist and psychotherapist. She said, “Naturally, women going into the work space is largely more recent than the men, even if you look at politics or anything else. Now women are slowly entering these spaces. Gaining a space in a very male-centric environment, you will face sexism and harassment. Again in terms of position, often a man with the same qualifications will get the position, he would be preferred over a woman. The stress that these women are experiencing basically comes from this whole struggle, having to occupy this case because there is no space for them yet. We are trying to create it now. We are trying to move into a space which wasn’t ours. It is a fight stress.”

Adding to that, she said, “I feel that even the feminist movement, which is not understood very well, puts so much pressure on women to keep it all together — you got to be the best wife, best homemaker, yet the one going out and working. You can’t! It is not physically, mentally emotionally, psychologically possible.”

That being said, we wanted to understand from women themselves on what they feel. Here is what these 8 women had to say:

Yes, I agree with the statement. I feel women have more responsibilities which they are expected to fulfil. Both men and women go to work but men aren’t expected to take care of home after their office. Women have to give their 100% at work and then at home as well. In fact, at home, they are expected to give their 101%.

– Shanti, Government Employee

Women are far better at multitasking than men. They manage work better within the given time available. Stress level is lower than men as they are better in finishing job efficiently within limitations. Men tend to stay more stressed than actually working.

– Shikha Suman, Founder, Medimojo

We enjoy working, love to handle a situation, act funny and arrive at a solution. But at times we feel guilty not being able to spend time with family. We can think about an on-site issue, daughter’s school admission and wonder what’s for dinner, all at the same time. I have all the reason to be stressed.

– Monica Shivmoorthy, Interior Designer

“It depends on the work than gender.”

– Nishita Agarwal, Financial Analyst

Yes, the work stress is bit too deep in women than men. A career stability has become an immense priority for women irrespective their marital status. We are projected to a stage where we have to constantly establish ourselves to prove our strength, to gain our much-deserved rights, to handle financial insecurities and so many other basic rights. 

– Prateeksha, Store manager

Women have so much more to do than just the job, they have to look at so many things at home as well. So work- life balance is what makes it more stressful for women. So either there is something they weren’t able to do at home or they are running short of targets in office and everything put together, it kind of gets more stressful.”

– Vidya Deshpande, Founder, Soul Purpose

I don’t know about women suffering more. But in my case, apart from the work pressure, I also had the additional pressure about letting my mother constantly know about my whereabouts as she would worry whether I am safe, especially since I am in Delhi. Also, to top it off, there is the pressure to get married. Everything combined, I think I deal with more stress than men in a similar situation.

– Shreya Paliwal, Journalist

I agree because they have to deal with their household chores as well. And also our society feels that women are inferior to men and it reflects in the way they behave.

– Shalini Singh, Media Professional

The answers we got were divided — some readily agreed and some did not. But like Gloria Steinem once said, “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” Isn’t it high time we as a society stopped expecting women to be all-rounders?

It is almost 2017, isn’t it high time that we as a society stopped expecting women to be all-rounders?