Anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, mood disorders – all of this is primarily female. In an interview on the occasion of International Women’s Day, Beate Wimmer-Puchinger, President of the Professional Association of Austrian Psychologists, explained that the fact that women are more likely to suffer from these mental illnesses is primarily due to socio-political conditions.
According to Wimmer-Puchinger, external circumstances that have prevailed for a long time weaken women. Not only would more women live in poverty, they also feel pressured by social media to conform to a physical ideal far more often than men do. They also find it more difficult to advance in professional life because they often work part-time due to the unequal distribution of care work and childcare.
Multiple burdens during the pandemic would have been expressed in increased depressive moods or burnout, and women would still be demonstrably worse off.
“It starts in puberty”
The fact that women are more prone to mental illness begins in puberty from the age of eleven. 27 percent of those under 20 are not satisfied with themselves, said Wimmer-Puchinger. Because of their socialization – girls are treated more cautiously and they are less trusted – but also in general, women judge themselves more critically than men. The psychologist pleaded for educational campaigns that are intended to convey knowledge about mental health and illnesses. The situation could also be improved by expanding childcare, a fairer distribution of care responsibilities and strengthening the self-esteem of women from childhood onwards.
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