The exhaustion gap – why are women so tired?

Women are more tired than ever (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The pandemic has exhausted us all.

But a new study has found that, when it comes to burnout, women have been hit the hardest.

Titled ‘The Exhaustion Gap’, the research was conducted online and took into account over 1,000 respondents – half of them women – across the UK and US.

Developed by creative agency Berlin Cameron in partnership with Kantar, Luminar and Fair Play author Eve Rodsky, the study found that a staggering two-thirds of women had felt burnt out in the last week.

Burnout was even higher among women aged 25-34, at 71% in the UK and 83% in the US. In comparison, only 50% of U.S. men reported the same.

The study also highlighted the fact that women have been set back in terms of their careers over the last two years, wit 66% not receiving any sort of pay rise since the start of the pandemic.

Feeling overworked and underpaid, 64% of women said they wished they had more time for themselves, while 53% want more time to invest in themselves, and their interests and hobbies.

As well as reporting more exhaustion and less motivation than their male counterparts, twice as many women as men reported feeling more isolated since the pandemic. 

The stats – while depressing – are hardly surprising.

The UN states that the global gender gap between women and men has widened since 2020, attributing this to the greater impact of the Covid-19 on women than men.

Whilst both men and women have been affected, a report from the World Economic forum has detailed the reasons why women have been hit hardest – particularly when it comes to their careers.

For example, women are more frequently employed in sectors directly disrupted by lockdown and social distancing measures, resulting in higher unemployment rates.

And, in a shock to nobody, the difficulties balancing working and caring responsibilities has impacted women more than men.

This reflects findings from another recent study – which analysed data from interviews with 17,500 people in 9,500 households – and found that women do 21 hours more unpaid work than men a week.

This came mainly in the form of housework and caring for children, with the amount of unpaid work escalating after having a child.

Women also felt more time-stressed than men, with 38% of women saying they were time-stressed ‘often’ or ‘almost always’ – a figure that has been at the same high level since 2001.

It was found that the gap was most pronounced in heterosexual couples with young children.

And it’s true that working mums are potentially at the highest risk for burnout. Another study found that mums who work are 28% more likely to experience burnout than working dads.

Jennifer DaSilva, president of Berlin Cameron, says there is more pressure placed on women to put forward several versions of themselves.

‘Its impact is seldom acknowledged,’ she says.

‘This study reveals that these pressures are immense and can hold women back from exercising their creativity, passions and drive for success.’

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