Women finding the coronavirus lockdown harder than men, official data shows

Caroline Allen
Contributor
Women are reporting higher levels of anxiety. (Getty Images)

Women are finding the coronavirus lockdown more challenging than men, data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

Stress levels across the UK have risen rapidly for everybody as a result of COVID-19, with over half the population reporting higher levels of anxiety.

On average, women reported a 24% higher level of stress than men for the period between 3 and 13 April 2020.

Overall, there has been a 28% increase in people suffering with anxiety since the same statistics were recorded in 2019.

Read more: Looking after your mind during the coronavirus pandemic

Patterns emerged among the people who were feeling more strained during the coronavirus pandemic, with the most common concerns relating to people’s wellbeing, work and reduction of household finances.

In fact, people with reduced income reported a 16% higher rate of anxiety, putting financial pressure at the top of the stress-inducers during this time.

The ONS also found that people who rent or are self-employed are more likely to be negatively mentally impacted by the coronavirus due to a higher risk of financial pressure.

It’s unclear exactly why women are finding this time period more difficult than men, but one possible explanation relates to the proportion of women who aren’t currently working in comparison to men.

Read more: Is it possible to be a mindful mum?

In the UK, 22% of women who have dependent children do not work, compared with just 5% of men.

This could cause an unexpected strain in a number of ways, couples psychotherapist, Christine Elvin, explains: “Women who aren’t currently working and who look after the children have unexpectedly found themselves at home with the entire family for a prolonged period of time.

“There will be pressure to keep a lot of plates spinning as well as the potential of added financial pressure if the family’s main source of income has been reduced.

Elvin continues: “It’s also worth noting that women are more likely to be in lower paid or part-time jobs. As a result, there will be pressure on the women to keep working while also bearing the brunt of homeschooling and managing everything else going on in the house.”

Read more: Lorraine Kelly opens up about menopause anxiety

Experts have suggested a number of ways to ease the pressure we’re unsurprisingly feeling during this time.

One suggestion is that people make time to take annual leave days during the lockdown, despite not being able to go anywhere.

The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) recently found that half of British people currently working at home were “unhappy” with their current work situation. They claimed they were having to work “longer and more irregular hours than they would under normal circumstances”.

One way to add a little more joy into each day was by scheduling in some annual leave. With many holidays being cancelled, people are finding contentment in just staying home and relaxing on these days off.

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