In the last decades of the 20th century, another of the great revolutions took place, the female revolution. A revolution that allowed a radical change in the lifestyle of women, which ceased to be eminently domestic to open up to the world in all senses; a change driven mainly by increased economic needs, improvements in education, the diversity of family models and the fight for gender equality.
«This radical change has allowed great advances, such as the incorporation of women into the labor market under more equal conditions, entrepreneurial opportunities, their access to traditionally male professions, their greater professional preparation and their marital independence, but also new difficulties such as work-life balance and the need to manage all those new roles that have been added to, and not replaced, those that I already played in the domestic sphere “, indicates Jana Fernández, communicator and disseminator specialized in wellness and rest.
The modern pace of life, with social and domestic obligations and economic needs, has considerably increased the burden of responsibilities assumed by women, and those responsibilities, those ‘should’, they are a source of stress when they are not elected. In addition, the confinement forced by the pandemic has meant that, from one day to the next, all spheres of life come to live in the same space, 24 hours a day and with the same people or alone. That is to say, the house, the office, the gym, the places of leisure and recreation, the spaces of rest and disconnection, the children’s playground, they have become one for many months, and that has been a very important load of stress added to the day-to-day ‘woman-orchestra’ that many already brought ‘as standard’.
The impact of stress
For years, research has shown the impact that stress has on women. Already in 2017 the CinfaSalud study on “Perception and habits of the Spanish population around stress”, endorsed by the Spanish Society for the Study of Anxiety and Stress (SEAS), it revealed that stress occurs to a greater degree in those under 45 years of age, mainly among women (48.7% versus 31.5% of the men).
This has been exacerbated by the pandemic. An article published in 2020, which reviewed 62 studies that addressed mental health in a sample of 162,639 people from 17 countries, concluded that, during the pandemic, the prevalence of anxiety was 33% and that of depression 28%, and that the main risk factors for anxiety or depression were: being a woman, working in the field of nursing, having a low socioeconomic level, having a high risk of contracting COVID-19 and social isolation.
In our country, one of the most powerful studies that have been done It has been carried out by a group of researchers from the UCM. Their results reveal that 27.8% of the women had clinically significant symptoms of depression (compared to 17% of the men); In the case of anxiety, symptoms appeared increasing in 26.8% of women (more than double that in men) and this proportion was repeated in the case of post-traumatic stress symptoms (22.8% in women, versus 16.9% of men).
Even the WHO has warned that the pandemic is especially affecting the mental health of women, due to causes such as non-salaried work, the loss of employment and income and the rebound in domestic violence.
On the other hand, Marta Redondo, doctor in Psychology, specialist in Clinical and Health Psychology, professor at the Camilo José Cela University and director of the Health Area of the Institute of Psychology of Emotions and Health, points out that «the cases of patients are overwhelming us new or women with whom we have worked for a long time, and they consult us for presenting high levels of stress (often with associated physical problems), insomnia, difficulty concentrating and the presence of high levels of anxiety (in the face of contagion or in the face of uncertainty due to the situation or economic problems that are getting worse and worse), as well as a lack of motivation and a low state of mind, close to depression ».
She assures that, in many cases, the main stressors detected in women are overload, when assuming the work role many times with the same responsibility and volume, together with attention to children and the house during confinement, and now in different moments of isolation. All this, together with a significant loss of reinforcers, lack of social support and much less time for them.
Sign up for newsletter de Familia and receive our best news free of charge every week