Damned if we do – Damned if we don’t: Women Display Depression in Positions of Authority

Holy Hormones Journal: Holy Hormones, Honey! I am getting depressed just thinking about holding a position as a ‘woman boss’. Who would want the pressure? You would be caught in energizer-bunnythe cross hairs of those who criticize women leaders who adopted ‘traditionally male behaviors’ while on the flip side – the same women would not be viewed by their colleagues as an exemplary leader if they used their feminine characteristics in a job.

So where does that leave women who hold upper level jobs? In a surreal world. Leading over people in a reality that is not their own; probably still not making as much money as their male counterparts – and still going home and donning their roles as mothers and wives. Add to that harassment, prejudice, isolation, stress, synthetic hormones, nutritional deficiencies and you have a woman with hormone shifts trying to hold on in a testosterone driven ever-ready bunny battery world.

Ain’t our reality – and it ain’t the way we would choose to lead.

Lead researcher Tetyana Pudrovska said: “These women have more education, higher incomes, more prestigious occupations, and higher levels of job satisfaction and autonomy than women without job authority. “Yet they have worse mental health than lower status women.”

Women bosses ‘more depressed’ than male counterparts

Women are more likely than men to display symptoms of depression when in a position of authority at work, according to US scientists. depression at work

In men, authority, such as the ability to hire and fire people, decreases depressive symptoms, the study said.

The study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour, looked at 2,800 middle-aged men and women.

One expert said the study showed the need for more women in authority and more varied female role models.

Scientists at the University of Texas at Austin interviewed 1,300 male and 1,500 female graduates from Wisconsin high schools over the phone in 1993 and 2004, when they were aged about 54 and 64.

Flexibility for men

Researchers asked participants about job authority and about the number of days in the past week they felt depressive symptoms, such as feeling sad and thinking one’s life is a failure.

When the job included hiring, firing and influencing pay, women were predicted to have a 9% increased rate of depressive symptoms than women without authority.

Meanwhile, men had a 10% decreased rate of depressive symptoms.

The study said it controlled for other factors that could cause depression, such as hours worked per week, whether people had flexible hours and how often workers were checked by a supervisor.

Scientists also said men were more likely to decide when to start and finish work than women and were less frequently monitored by their advisers.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.