Gender differences are visible clearly in the number of affected survivors of commonest mental disorders like anxiety, depression and somatic complaints. Women surprisingly pre-dominate these figures. Unipolar depression incidentally is twice as common in women.
By Pooja Priyamvada
According to a United Nations report, approximately two-third of married women in India were victims of some form of domestic violence or other and each incident of such violence leading them to losing 7 working days on an average. Modern Indian working women still face the dilemmas of “Why do you want/need to work?” Their income and work is still considered to be supplementary and not “equally” crucial in life vis-à-vis family and children.
Research indicates gender is a crucial determinant of mental health and mental illness. Gender differences are visible clearly in the number of affected survivors of commonest mental disorders like anxiety, depression and somatic complaints. Women surprisingly pre-dominate these figures. Unipolar depression incidentally is twice as common in women.
Various socio-cultural factors affect the mental health status of working women. Statistics collected by mental health foundations indicate that women in full-time jobs are almost twice as likely to incur mental health issues compared to men in same jobs.
Day to day working conditions and workplace environment have a huge impact on any worker’s mental health and vice-versa a workers’ mental health can impact their ability to do their jobs well. Women workers remain particularly vulnerable here. Most of them constantly juggle personal and social lives and almost always are required to put extra effort to not let this affect their professional life too.
With increasing levels of education, literacy and urban mobility a larger percentage of women from a variety of socioeconomic classes work professionally now but sadly this only adds to their unchanging workloads in homes and families and hence adversely affects their mental health.
Biologically hormones affect women’s emotions and moods in various ways at different stages of their lifetime. Especially women with a pre-existing mental health condition might find an acceleration of symptoms or a flare related to their menstrual cycles, pregnancy or menopause.
In addition major life events like childbirth and maternal roles, caring and nurturing for the elderly in families, duties regarding traditions and festivals even those women who are financially empowered do not attempt to overstep these obligations and hence often fall victims to emotional burnouts or dormant anxiety and uni-polar depression.
(The author is a translator, social media expert and awarded blogger. Views expressed are personal.)