Women Suffer More Stress and Exhaustion at Work, Israeli Study Shows

Women are less likely to report that their jobs are interesting, and they feel less job security.

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According to entrepreneurs Michal Tsur and Leah Belsky of Kaltura, women in start-ups can balance home and family.
A woman at work. Less flexibility and independence, and a raft of other problems. Credit: Bloomberg

Women report worse working conditions than men do, including more stress and exhaustion, according to a study by researchers at Tel Aviv University and the University of Haifa.

While studies have repeatedly found that women make less than men even after accounting for variables such as education and working hours, the new study found that women suffer in other ways.

The researchers based their work on comments by 9,000 women and 8,500 men from 27 countries. They initially assumed that women would be compensated for lower wages by intangible benefits such as job satisfaction. In practice, the opposite was true.

The respondents were asked to rank their jobs in terms of a series of factors: compensation, advancement opportunities, flexibility and independence, job security, interest, autonomy, training, physical conditions and psychological conditions such as stress and exhaustion.

According to the study, women were less likely to report that their jobs were interesting, and they felt less job security. Women also reported less freedom in terms of how they could manage their time on the job, and more stress and exhaustion.

The only area where women reported better terms than men was physical conditions.

“The source of these gaps is that women are being pushed into ‘feminine’ fields that don’t necessarily match their talents,” said Prof. Meir Yaish, head of sociology and anthropology at the University of Haifa, who took part in the study.

The researchers had also assumed that the higher the percentage of women in a field, the more that field would be perceived by both sexes as offering intangible benefits. In practice, they found that the more women in a field, the more men perceived it as offering inferior terms.

They also found that the more education necessary for a field, the greater the gaps between the sexes in terms of reported working conditions.

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