Gender Discrimination at Work and Mental Health

Review studies have concluded that in companies where there is no promotion of gender equality, mental health is worse. Additionally, both men and women exhibit similar levels of mental health (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, etc.) in organizations where gender equality is part of company policies and practices (Elwér et al., 2013).

Work-family conflict seems to be one of the strongest predictors of perceived stress and anxiety in the lives of workers and, above all, female workers. Interference between professional and personal life has been identified as one of the ten main stressors in the workplace (Gao, Shi, & Wang, 2013). For example, in Sweden, a pioneering country in social and scientific reflection on these issues, for decades, some studies have analysed endocrine responses to stress, comparing men and women at work and at home. The results showed that during the working day there were no significant differences between the sexes in hormone levels, whereas in the domestic environment the gender differences were very marked. Specifically in men, norepinephrine levels decreased upon arrival at home, while in women they continued to increase after arrival at their homes. This study revealed that the restoration of work stress and the use of time at home for rest after the workday seems to be a reality for men, but not for women (Frankenhauser, 1991). Among the phenomena related to occupational stress, burnout, caused by situations of lack of autonomy, conflicting relationships, overwork and long hours (Nazari et al., 2016), has been highlighted. It is a state of physical and mental exhaustion and exhaustion, whose origin is related to the characteristics of work and, as several studies indicate, it is a gendered syndrome influenced by issues of inequality in work and outside it (De Matos & Junior, 2020). Additionally, another study, by Gaeul Kim and colleagues (2020), shows that women who suffer from gender discrimination in the workplace are more likely to have depressive symptoms, regardless of the type of perceived discrimination (in terms of hiring, professional promotion, assignments, salaries and layoffs).

Health (physical and mental), as a field of practice and investigation, has been much discussed and developed in recent years. However, the study of the effect of gender inequalities on workers’ health is still a very open field for future research.