woman looking worried
A new study reports 'a worry gap' between men and women. The study by the National Centre of Social Research concludes that women are twice as likely to be extremely worried about their lives and those around them, after the global pandemic. 
The reasons for this extreme worry have been attributed to the cost of living crisis, looking after dependents and increases of COVID rates (which have raised 18% in the last week in the UK.)  
Eleanor Morgan, Journalist/Author and Charlotte Faircloth, Associate Professor at the University College London Social Research Institute shared their thoughts on BBC Radio 4's Womans Hour.  
Charlotte Faircloth spoke on the 'worryload' that women carry. Pre-existing studies have suggested women care more about work life, family and relationships. The pandemic has obviously magnified this worryload - with childcare issues when schools closed and redundancies (especially in female dominent sectors such as hospitality.) It has also been found that women were more likely to be made reduntant when applying for furlough. Did women have more pressure placed on them during the pandemic?  
Decisions had to be made around risk-management. For example, people had to decide whether to visit grandparents experiencing lonlineness or not to with the worry of giving them COVID and making them seriously ill.  
Eleanor Morgan was less convinced by this study, suggesting that in fact this study's findings could be a red herring and are not based on any conclusive scientific studies - only small-scale, specific research looking for gender-based differences.  
The results do seem to confirm what we already know - women expreience greater social and economic impacts than men. Research from the University of Washington show 26% of women reported a loss of work compared to 20% of men during the pandemic.  
But do women worry more or do they voice their concern more than men? It could be the case that women may not necessarily worry more, but worry about different things and express this more. However, what basis this has is questionable and could be the result of 'The Hystercial Woman Stereotype' and narratives about men's emotional expressivity.  
It has never been proven that men and women are 'wired' differently - a biological difference has never been confirmed. Morgan stresses the need to look at the deep conditioning which is at play in society. In other words, there is no inherent difference between men and women when it comes to worrying but the worry gap is likely caused by expectations of women to worry more, a heavier 'worryload' and societal/economical disadvantages.  
Tagged as: anxiety, emotions, stress
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