From the age of 25 upwards, women feel more stress than men at work, according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive.
The gender difference in stress levels is caused by additional pressures women face in terms of family responsibilities, body image and sexism in the workplace, psychiatrists say.
The highest disparity in stress levels was for women aged 35-44, with almost 50% more women experiencing stress at work than men, the Health and Safety Executive found in a survey of 38,000 households in the UK.
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Several studies have shown that stereotype threat – or being judged by, for example, your gender or ethnicity instead of your performance – is a major contributor to women’s stress in the workplace. The threat of being misjudged or dismissed due to sexist assumptions has been shown to affect women’s performance, goals, behaviour and expectations.
Organisations and managers have also been shown to boost their employees’ productivity if they make an effort to reduce stereotype threats in organisations.
Judith Mohring, a psychiatrist at Priory’s Wellbeing Centre in London, says that female managers often reported a range of causes of stress related to their gender in the workplace