Gender equality

What Are the Psychological Effects of Gender Inequality?

Gender inequality has a profound effect on mental health worldwide. Some of the psychological effects of gender inequality include higher levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in women and people of marginalized genders.

Gender inequality manifests itself in many different ways. People can experience mental health conditions as a direct result of gender-based discrimination or violence, for example. They can also develop conditions indirectly as a result of exposure to socioeconomic inequality, chronic stress, and harmful messages in the media.

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth.

What Is Gender Inequality?

Gender inequality refers to the differences between genders in terms of status, power, wealth, health, and employment. When these differences are avoidable and unfair, it is known as gender inequity.

Gender inequity is the product of sexism, which is prejudice or discrimination against people based on their sex or gender. It primarily impacts women and girls, with consequences that begin at birth.

Some of the measurable ways that gender inequity affects women globally, in comparison with men, include:

  • lower rates of schooling and employment
  • less pay for similar work
  • higher levels of stress
  • higher rates of unpaid work, such as caring for sick relatives
  • exposure to higher rates of sexual assault, intimate partner abuse, and gender-based violence
  • a lack of representation in government

Some of the ways that sexism affects everyday life include:

  • sexist remarks
  • sexual harassment
  • workplace discrimination

All of these have a significant impact on the mental and physical health of women and girls, as well as people of other marginalized genders.

Unlike sex, which is based on biological traits such as genitalia, gender refers to how people feel about themselves. As a result, anyone can experience gender inequity and sexism based on how they behave and express themselves.

Does Gender Inequity Affect Mental Health?

Yes. According to a 2020 article, women with mental health conditions outnumber men by as much as two or threefold, depending on the condition.

In comparison to men, women are:

  • twice as likely to have generalized anxiety disorder
  • twice as likely to have panic disorder
  • approximately twice as likely to develop depression during their lifetime
  • 4–10 times more likely to have an eating disorder
  • more than twice as likely to develop PTSD
  • more likely to attempt suicide, though men are 3.63 times more likely to die by suicide

While it is true that many factors play a role in mental illness, including biological differences between sexes, women are overrepresented in these statistics, as well as in statistics for chronic physical illnesses.

Studies have shown a link between experiencing discrimination and mental health symptoms. Sexism also exposes people to many of the risk factors of mental health conditions, including chronic stress, negative self-image, and trauma.

Medical News Today

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