Career Woman

Stress in the workplace: Why women are more prone to it


This quide explores the reasons that women are more likely than men to suffer stress in the workplace, what is behind each of the causes, and what can be done to relieve it.

Throughout history, women have been scrutinized and given differing expectations to those of men. Women are expected to be more caring, nurturing, and passive. In fact, a UN report has found that a staggering 90% of people hold such biased expectations of womenMost of us have been working from home for the past few months. So, as we start to transition back to returning to the office, why is it that women are more prone to stress in the workplace?

Reasons for women’s stress in the workplace

Gender gap

On the whole, women feel they have to prove their ability to do their job more than men, especially in a male-dominated industry. As the gender gap appears to decrease, more women are doing what traditionally would be seen as male-only jobs.

However, women are often paid less to do the same job. Though the number of Fortune 500 companies with a female CEO hit a new record this year, gender diversity is still yet to be near proportional. Women are not advancing in industry due to traditional and old-fashioned stereotypes which need to be addressed as this can cause stress in the workplace.

Baby bias

Regardless of whether women want children or not, they are put at a disadvantage. Of course, women are more likely to have stresses from their home life when it comes to pregnancy and children. The conception, carrying, birthing and raising are all stressful in themselves without the added stress that maternity and childcare leave bring.

Employers often have a preconceived idea of what a female worker is, and that they are more stressed, more passive and more likely to leave early for childcare as well as likely to go on maternity leave. This can lead these employers to not hire a woman or, if they do, treat her as a temporary worker. Putting processes in place that guarantee maternity leave pay, and gender equality hiring practices, helps with job security and eases stress in the workplace.

Mental health takes priority

Being treated with prejudice and bias throughout your whole working life is likely to cause depression, anxiety and stress in the workplace. We spend every day in workplaces, and everyday stress is sure to build up. Noticeable changes in mental health should be a cause for concern and addressed immediately by improving the working environment.

What to do about these stresses

If you are personally experiencing any of the prejudices mentioned here as stress in the workplace, it may be useful to consult a therapist or visit a professional. If you are an employer, it is important to open up a discussion about equality within your workplace and make an “employee assistance program” (EAP) available.

An EAP can help with work-related issues, and problems at home, by giving employees 24/7 access to professional counselors. To be a professional in today’s world is chaotic, especially at this current time. Thus, promoting positive mental health is key to creating a safe and happy workplace free of stress regardless of gender.


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