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  • Writer's pictureKrrisha Patel

The Impacts of Gender Pay Gaps on Women's Mental Health

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A 2016 study conducted by researchers from Columbia University suggests that women experience higher rates of depression and anxiety, compared to their male counterparts, due to gender pay gaps within the workplace. Johnathan Platt, MPH, evaluated data from one of the largest substance use and psychiatric disorder surveys along with his associates. This survey regulated over 22,000 adults ages 30-65 years old in the United States. From the data collected, they found evidence of women having a higher chance of experiencing depression than men by 1.96 percent. Also, rates of anxiety have gone up 2.5 times higher in women than men within the past years. In order to set up accurate data, men and women were compared based on age, education level, industry of employment, and marital status. The results of these showed that women who earn an equal or higher amount of income to their male counterparts have the same chance of experiencing depression as they do. However, when they earn a lower amount of income, their chances of depression increase by 2.43 times. The outcomes were more than 4 times when it comes to anxiety in the work field.

These statistics show a possibility of discrimination in the workplace, in which women along with ethnic minorities are given disproportionate opportunities compared to males. Therefore resulting in higher chances of potential depression and anxiety based on income rate. Women could also be facing feelings of low self-worth as a reflection of themselves instead of considering biased workplace practices.

Besides doing the same amount of work in exchange for a lower salary, women are often expected to complete common household responsibilities which includes cleaning, shopping for groceries, caring for children and other family members, and managing schedules. Women who are aged 15-64 spend over 240 minutes per day on these tasks. However, males in the same age range only spend 145 minutes on these chores. Platt states, “The expectation to do a lot more of the housework and childcare takes its toll in many different ways, and can be really pernicious.” A study that was done in 2019 explains that women who feel like taking care of a household is their sole purpose, end up feeling empty and unsatisfied in relationships.

Specific estimates predict that it will take around 200 years for the pay gaps to close. “The imperative now exists for our society to recognize this connection and work to provide institutional and structural competency changes that will improve the mental health of the women in this country,” psychiatrist and president of the American Psychiatric Association Women’s Caucus Van Niel said.



[1] “Gender Pay Gap Contributes to Increased Rates of Depression and Anxiety Among Women.” Workplace Mental Health,

[2] Stieg, Cory. “How the Gender Pay Gap Affects Women's Mental Health.” CNBC, CNBC, 31 Mar. 2020,

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