The wage gap between men and women in the US is driving anxiety and depression among lower paid female counterparts, a new study has found.
Women who earn less than men are four times as likely to develop an anxiety disorder and two and a half times more likely to suffer from diagnosed depression, according to a study by New York Colombia University, published in the journal Social Science & Medicine.
The study compared men and women with similar education and work experience.
When women’s income was the same or more than men’s, the chances of women developing depression was about the same as men whereas their chances of suffering from an anxiety disorder greatly decreased, the findings discovered.
“Our results show that some of the gender disparities in depression and anxiety may be due to the effects of structural gender inequality in the workforce and beyond,” said Jonathan Platt, the study's lead author and a doctoral student, in a statement.
U.S. Census Bureau data shows that women in the US who work full-time are paid just 79 cents for every dollar that a man earns.
The study collected data from more than 22,000 employed adults aged between 30 and 65.
Katherine Keyes, an assistant professor at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health, told Reuters: “Our findings suggest that policies must go beyond prohibiting overt gender discrimination like sexual harassment.”
She pointed to policies like paid parental leave, affordable childcare and flexible work schedules.