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“They ask less questions.” Why do women worry more than men?

Mental workload, caring for others… Women worry more than men. How to get rid of this V?orry Gap: about which we talk very little.

“I worry about everything all the time. At work or at home, everything is questioned, from how I dress to how I stand up for myself at work, including how I present myself in public. I have a feeling that everything is simpler for my male colleagues or partner, they ask fewer questions,” explains Pauline, a Parisian in her thirties. Like many other women, this communications manager is also a victim anxiety gapthis “concern gap” between men and women.

An imbalance that already existed before the pandemic, but which has continued to worsen since then, as highlighted in a 2022 study published by the UK’s National Center for Social Research, NatCen. According to this study, women are twice as likely to experience extreme anxiety than men. A finding that supports recent WHO figures that women are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders than men. “If it has to do with mental workload, then this concept anxiety gap but it’s different, explains psychoanalyst Anais Le Brun-Berry. It is associated with stress and anxiety levels, assessed using a number of stressors (stress markers), which are more important in women.” In general, if women worry more, it is mainly because they have been educated in this direction and because they have internalized unequal standards from their early childhood.

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Emotional charge

“No woman is born more capable than man of caring and taking care of others. They were just brought up that way. We call this emotional charge,” confirms Anais Le Brun-Berry. It is enough to look at the percentage of women in professions care (care), between 85 and 95%, according to our expert, to recognize this gender-related double standard. Mental workload, domestic and professional affairs, maternal duties, helping… In fact, women are still largely responsible for the well-being of others. This gender education (unconscious or not) also pushes them into constant prevention; where men wait until they are faced with a problem, women tend to anticipate the difficulties that may arise in order to prevent them. A mind mechanism that inevitably feeds…anxiety.

No woman is born more able than man to care for and care for others. That’s just how they were raised

Anais Le Brun-Berry, psychoanalyst

The role of sexism

Another sign of stress is multiple discrimination. According to the sexism barometer published in 2023 for the High Council for Equality, 80% of women have already been victims of sexism and only 20% of French people believe that men and women are equal in the world. work . While a male colleague probably wouldn’t ask about gender in a new role, some women know they have to redouble their efforts to be considered a man’s equal. “I just got a management position at a large company with a majority of heterosexual men. I wonder where I should go about gaining respect without being too authoritarian or, on the contrary, sending signals of openness that may seem ambiguous. It’s a real balancing act, and I know I’m thinking about it because I’m a woman,” already worried Letizia, executive director of communications.

Women are also more subject to instructions about physical appearance. Younger generations may try to destroy them, but they are always their victims. “With the importance of social networks, the place of images in our lives has changed. It is immersive and intrudes into our daily lives, potentially causing stress, anxiety, and obsessive behavior. We see this especially in the behavior of eating disorders in teenage girls,” notes Anais Le Brun-Berry. Not forgetting the notorious mental strain, it’s a race against time to take care of everyday life, from the little one’s physiotherapist appointment to dinner. Tasks that are rarely shared in everyday life. “70% of this housework and its thinking still rests on women,” says Amandine Hansevich, founder of the Association “Parents and Feminists”. Of course, in return, women develop capacities for adaptation, planning and organization, but these problems are not monetized and are not visible to either the husband or the society. “These skills can be applied in all areas, but at what point do we become aware of these resources to unburden them?” asks Anais Le Brun-Berry.

The weight of the collective

Stress, fatigue, exhaustion, sometimes even burnout… In addition to the energy draining side and the constant frustration that this anxiety gap can cause, it can also affect mental and physical health. “I have regular reminders about my body. last year I had two alopecias and I subscribe to Gaviscon and Omeprazole daily.Ulcer Medicines, Editor’s Note) I am also part of this caste of very restless people who wake up at 5 in the morning when the mental cycle is in a twist,” says Leticia. There’s no shortage of concerns for women and, to top it off, it’s often up to them to manage the emotions this can bring up when going to a consultation. “We call this therapeutic cargo. Women consult more than men. And when the man’s affairs in the couple are not good, the woman should be responsible for counseling so that she can support him and ensure that he gets better. Finally, this also increases this anxiety gapAnais Le Brun-Berry analyzes.

I have regular reminders about my body. I had alopecia twice last year

Letitia

But then what can we do? Can this gap be narrowed? Sometimes simple awareness is enough to function in a relationship. “A conversation with your partner is always helpful to reset mental and emotional baggage,” says Anais Le Brun-Berry. But when you are alone? In this case, you must be able to rely on the network, friends, family, rely on structures such as associations, the municipality, social support and be able to go outside yourself, overcome the barrier of shame, dare to ask for help. . “Above all, we should stop believing that all this is happening at the individual level. Spiritual retreat doesn’t solve structural problems, especially when most people can’t do it, argues sociologist and feminist activist Ilana Weisman. Therefore, it is urgent that public authorities deal with this topic, for example by providing resources to public services to prevent individuals from worrying. Mothers should be helped.” The weight of the team. This is the solution to reduce this gap.

Source: Le Figaro

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