A recent study has revealed women are disproportionately affected when it comes to stress and mental health issues in the UK.
The study, conducted by workplace safety specialists First Mats, found that women are significantly more likely to suffer from stress than their male counterparts, with female respondents being 23.5% more likely to experience stress daily and 40% more likely to feel stress on a frequent basis (more than once per week).
This trend is further supported by workplace health data from the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which shows 50% more cases of reported stress, anxiety, or depression for women than for men.
A key factor fuelling this stress disparity is the distinct nature of work typically undertaken by men and women. ONS and HSE data indicate that industries hit hardest by stress, such as healthcare and teaching, have a higher concentration of female workers, whereas manufacturing and construction-related industries—predominantly comprised of a male workforce—report the lowest levels of stress, depression, or anxiety.
It is essential for employers to recognise this gender disparity and take steps to address the unique stressors faced by women in the workplace. In the First Mats survey, both male and female respondents identified the cost of living crisis and money worries as the main causes of stress, outweighing concerns related to workload or job security. This highlights the need for a more comprehensive approach to stress management that takes into account not only the pressures within the workplace but also the broader societal and economic factors that contribute to individuals’ mental well-being.
The growing stress epidemic among women in the UK demands urgent attention and action from both employers and policymakers. Organisations must implement targeted support and resources for female employees, such as offering flexible working arrangements, providing access to mental health services, and fostering an inclusive work environment that recognises and values diverse experiences and perspectives.
Addressing the root causes of stress among women will not only promote greater workplace equality but also contribute to a healthier and more productive workforce overall. By working together, we can bridge the stress gap and create a more supportive and resilient workplace culture for everyone.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.