According to the Department of Labor’s quick stats on women workers 2009, women age 16 years and over represented 59.2% of labor force participants, either working or looking for a job. Currently women account for 46.8% of total U.S. labor force and it is projected to increase over the years. 74% of the women work full-time while the remaining 26% workers are part-time.
The challenges women face in the workplace is different than challenges men face, this affects their health accordingly. The most common health issues women face include sexual harassment, heavy workload and balancing family demands. These and many more may cause mental, physical and emotional stress on women.
Some other issues that cause stress to women are disparities in the work place, disparities in wages, workload and working conditions. Since women are mostly the caregivers in their family they are the ones that take time off the most leading to added stress for taking time off to care for loved ones.
Stress has always been suspected to be responsible for spontaneous abortion, preterm labor, infertility and menstrual irregularities. According to the study conducted by Whelan E. A. et al, “Night work and long work hours may be associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion”.
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I personally do not believe a woman should have to choose between caring for her family and work; this added stress is not needed! As seen above stress affects reproductive health.
The current work place operates in a man oriented way undermining the fact that there are more women in the work place than before the 1970s as stated earlier. How can this be resolved?
We need policies that are not gender specific to help reduce the stress of having to balance working with family responsibilities. Some of the policies include removal of discrimination in wages, increasing access to working from home, access to health care for part-time workers and making available the option to pay the difference if a woman so chooses and flexible work schedules.
Written by ‘Shade A.