Date
22 November 2017
Work stress, along with increased drinking and smoking, is taking its toll on the health of women. Photo: MentalHelp
Work stress, along with increased drinking and smoking, is taking its toll on the health of women. Photo: MentalHelp

Work stress taking toll on women’s health

It’s common belief, backstopped by solid statistics, that women outlive men. But recent data from Britain’s Office for National Statistics indicates that women are losing their lead over men in life expectancy as they trade homemaking for careers.

Does that mean that women are better off taking care of home and the kids, leaving the task of earning a living to men? And if you try to extend the logic, does that mean that a man’s job is tougher than a woman’s domestic chores? 

Not really. What it shows is that it’s difficult for women, who must take care of home and the kids, to be also working in an office or a factory to help support the family.

In 1963, men were twice as likely to die early as women. Last year, however, the gap in mortality rates fell to just one and a half times, while the life expectancy gap has fallen from six years to fewer than four, MailOnline reports, citing the ONS study.

During those 50 years, the number of women entering the workforce has increased significantly. In the UK, the number of stay-at-home mothers has dropped to just over two million, from three million two decades ago.

Work stress, along with increased drinking and smoking, is taking its toll on their health, the study finds.

“Ministers want women to work long hours when they have children, but these figures … indicate there may be public health problems as a result,” Laura Perrins of the pressure group Mothers at Home Matter was quoted as saying.

While more women enter the labor force, facing work-related stress and engaging in unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking, their male counterparts appear to be enjoying better health, with smoking and drinking rates within their ranks falling and work environments becoming generally safer, the study finds.

“Men’s life expectancy has been increasing in the way that could be predicted, because of less going down coal mines or falling off scaffolding,” says researcher and author Patricia Morgan.

“However, government policies that have put pressure on women to work, whether they want to or not, may not have been entirely a good thing. We may be looking at the unintended consequences of the economic pressure on women to go out to work throughout their lives.”

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CG

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