Study Says: Working Women are More Stressed Then Men

on Mar 10, 2011 @ 03:17 pm

According to a recent study at the University of Toronto, women are more likely than men to have feelings of guilt and distress if they are contacted frequently by colleagues, supervisors and clients outside of work.
In the study, distress was measured by questions that related to feeling tired and rundown or having difficulty focusing on the task at hand.
One of the researchers commented  "Our study provides a snapshot view into what people might think is a form of flexibility, which is being able to be contacted and accessible 24-7 through these technologies," and "I think we need to step back and say, well, 'What are the consequences of that for people's emotional and physical well-being?"'
In respect to women specifically, the researchers think that the guilt comes from cultural norms around work and non-work life.   Jen Maier (a work from home mom) said “I think these days because of technology, it's both a blessing and a curse. And I think that women are contacted, and are more available, 24-7 than they used to be," and "... women (who are) mothers feel more guilty than their husbands would on the exact same situation."

What do you think? Do you react differently towards a woman taking a business call in a personal setting then a man? Should we feel guilty at all? Do you think these findings will have any effect on how we balance our work/personal life?


4 Replies

Here's a few articles on the study on Mar 10, 2011 @ 03:21 pm

Washington Post

... on Mar 10, 2011 @ 05:11 pm

I think women and men should feel guilty if they allow themselves to be interrupted frequently after hours. Occasional calls, especially if they are of an urgent nature, are of course different. After hours are downtime - family time for some and personal time for others.

I think the caller who habitually tries to contact people outside of normal hours is a problem too, but ultimately it comes down to allowing this behaviour to be rewarded through reaction. If you never picked up after-hours calls, people would bug you less because they'd know they won't get very far. My husband used to take calls 24/7 but in the last year or so has been a lot stricter. And wouldn't you know - he's receiving far fewer interruptions now!

When I was growing up, there was a strict rule that we don't call anyone during supper hours (5-7pm ish, back in the day when that was considered the civilized supper timeslot). Now, we receive the majority of our calls then - I guess people figure that's the time we'll be at home! So now we screen every call and only take the ones that are truly urgent. We've made a point of explaining the reasons to our kids so that hopefully they will do the same when they are older.

Many people, especially Type-A overachievers, don't know when to shut off. It's not always work - sometimes it's excessive interaction with their extended family or too many commitments to extracurricular activities. If your life is not in balance, I don't think you can really be happy. And even if you're okay with the way things are going, those around you (spouse, kids, or pets) won't necessarily agree.

We should feel guilty for not living our lives in balance. We allow stress to enter our lives when we don't have boundaries, and this is essentially the crux of the problem whether you're a man or a woman.

Preach it! on Mar 11, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

My parents enforced the no calls during dinner thing too, I'm glad they did because I think it's getting even worse now a days - I've been to a few families that all keep their cell phones ON the table and they text throughout the meal.

I like how you mentioned that if you choose to not answer calls people will start to take the hint. Good piece of advice.

It's true on May 30, 2011 @ 05:04 pm

I have also read an article that women are more stressed out than men. The reason is because women are supposed to be housewives and take care of children so they feel more guilty when they're working and spending less time with their kids. Men don't feel this way because they were traditionally stereotyped to work. Even though more women are working now, the stigma is still there that women should take care of the kids and it shows in that women are more stressed when it comes to work.

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