The scene of working women around the world is complicated. Though there are reforms and initiatives to promote gender inclusion in the workplace, factors like social treatment, pay and work conditions often discourage working women resulting in extra stress. A recent study showed that while stress in working women was common around the world, Indian women had it harder.
A recently released report by Deloitte India revealed the mental health condition of working women in India and around the world. According to the survey conducted on 5,000 working women of all age groups and professional levels belonging to ten different countries including 500 candidates from India, it was found that stress level in Indian working women was relatively higher than in any other country.
Some of the reasons behind this increased level of stress are society's treatment, harassment at the workplace, microaggression, the additional workload of housework and childcare and lack of proper mental health care.
Mental Health Of Indian Working Women
The survey compared the stress levels faced by working women in the financial years 2022 and 2023 and found that working women faced higher stress in 2023 as compared to 2022. However, while the global percentage for highly stressed women was 51, it was 53 in India. However, fewer working women felt burnt out in 2023 as compared to 46 percent in 2022, around 28 percent globally agreed to feel burnt out as compared to 31 percent in India this year. The report showed that Indian working women felt more burnt out and stressed at work in comparison to their global counterparts.
The survey suggested some of the possible reasons for that and one of the major contributors is lack of mental health care. It was observed that while 40 percent of working women received proper mental health support globally, only 38 percent of women in India agreed that their employer supported their mental health. When it came to gender-exclusive behaviour like interruption during meetings, mansplaining, someone else taking credit for their work and exclusion from informal conversations, Indian women saw lower levels of such behaviour as compared to their global counterparts.
Despite relatively lower levels, bad workplace behaviour is still really high in number in India. It was reported that though the number of women facing microaggression or harassment at the workplace went down from 59 percent in the financial year 2022 to 44 percent in 2023, it is still a really high number considering the challenges that working women face already. The report also mentioned that 70 percent of Indian working women claimed that their partner was the family's primary breadwinner. The higher levels of responsibilities in the household and childcare have led to lower financial independence for women in India.
A good thing that the survey observed was that the younger generation was more aware of and vocal about their mental health. They are comfortable talking about mental health challenges at the workplace and that's what we need to encourage the older generation as well. Women often neglect their mental health at the workplace as well as at home which has a drastic impact on their long-term health. It is important to encourage such conversations in the workplace and at home so that we can find a way to deal with these challenges because you cannot perform your best if your mental health is not at your best.
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