Pandemic has worse effect on women’s mental health

Women have been worse affected than men during the pandemic, with greater numbers reporting job insecurity and forced reduction in working hours. 

The firm said two in three working Australian women had experienced a mental health condition, rising to 73% for women under-25. Women also saw their personal wellbeing decline significantly more than men. 

The Superfriend workplace mental health study found women ended up being forced to work fewer hours than usual and were twice as much affected when it came to having no paid work, which peaked in April.  

Some 27.5% said their mental health and wellbeing had been affected by the pandemic compared to 20.9% of men. 

Chief executive, Margo Lydon, said: “The events of 2020 have turned workplaces upside down, but the pandemic has been particularly hard on women. It has intensified the challenges that women already faced, such as balancing paid work and carers’ responsibilities, and the emotional toll of financial insecurity, significantly impacting their mental health and wellbeing.” 

There was a mixed impact on women’s productivity during the time, women were more productive due to the pivot to remote working which reduced their commute but many were simultaneously forced to balance this with home schooling or caring for family. They also lacked confidence that they would be financially secure in the future.  

“Workplaces pivoting to a work-from-home set up overnight turned out to be a blessing in disguise for many of us. Remote work reduced or eliminated commuting times substantially, boosting productivity for two in five women and freeing up time to exercise, sleep and connect with loved ones instead,” Lydon said. 

“[But] with homeschooling, heightened care needs of older persons and stress associated with general living expenses, the pandemic and lockdowns were not experienced equally.” 

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