The CIPD has cited research that suggests women are having to put up with high levels of stress at work. The question then is whether corporate culture is doing enough to help by supporting good mental health and wellbeing.
Official figures from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that women over the age of 25 are more stressed than men, and that this then continues throughout their working lives
This is not about women as victims, nor, for that matter, about a battle of the sexes. Rather, it’s about how even while demonstrating extraordinary capabilities, women may face extra pressures at work.
Stereotypes and Expectations
Women routinely face a degree of stereotyping in the workplace, however subtle or implied, and their awareness of this feeds their stress levels and can affect how they perform.
Typically, negative gender stereotypes may exist around issues to do with poor performance in negotiation or presentation when set against a male counterpart.
What this does is create something self-fulfilling, and self-perpetuating, where the woman’s acute awareness of this expectation leads to her piling increased pressure on herself.
There can also be the situation where a woman’s own high standards lead to her putting unnecessary demands on herself to meet unrealistic expectations.
Therefore, among other causes, there can a psychological basis to the stress that women experience.
Other Pressures for Women
Along with feeling they must prove themselves in male-dominated environments, women often must also find a work-life balance they can live with.
The pressures women face can peak between the ages of 35 and 44, when they are striving at work but also setting this against the demands of childcare and, possibly, caring for elderly parents
In fact, for many women, the pressure may feel like it is constant.
There is also the issue of career progression, and how women may feel that they must constantly prove themselves to justify any advancement.
There may also be a lack of organisational support to help them address inequalities at work, and a general sense of fragile job security to add to feelings of stress and anxiety.
What Can Women Do?
Women are resourceful, and the sort of strength and capability they display when balancing the demands of work and home, and other commitments, puts them in good stead for developing coping strategies.
Part of the answer is for women to take more control of their wellbeing where they can, in terms building resilience and enabling recovery from stress.
If you are stressed at work and are looking for support and ways of coping with it, contact Ayuda today.
Tel: 0800 612 2611
Office: Ayuda House, Bowdon, Cheshire WA14 3NE
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