Previous CivicScience data highlighted the great disparities between women and men when it comes to the financial impact the pandemic has had. Digging further into CivicScience data shows further polarities in all areas of life.
Women are more stressed and anxious
Anxious feelings as a result of living through unfamiliar and life-threatening situations like the pandemic are understandably running high among most people. However, U.S. adult women report greater levels of anxiety in the past year than they say is usual for them. Compared to U.S. adult men, women are 13% more likely to say they are experiencing more feelings of anxiousness. Nearly three-fourths of women report experiencing more feelings of anxiousness while only 63% of men report the same.
And the divide is even present when looking at parental status – moms are 7% more likely to report heightened feelings of anxiety in the past year than dads.
Broadly speaking, women are also more likely to say that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, with 61% of women saying this is the case while only 56% of men express the same feelings.
Again, the data show a parental divide – there is a difference of 11 percentage points between reports of negative mental health impact.
Unsurprisingly, given the data above, women are also significantly more stressed. Since November, there’s a 10 percentage point difference between men and women.
Not only are women more stressed as a whole, but they’re also more likely to indicate that they’re experiencing more extreme levels of stress (“very strongly stressed”).
This particular feeling is even more pronounced among Gen X women, with roughly 7 in 10 reporting increased stress levels while less than 6 in 10 Gen X men express the same. However, this could be a proxy for parenthood – moms yet again are indicating that they’re more stressed than dads.
On the flip side of stress, anxiety, and mental health, CivicScience also surveyed more than 220,000 U.S. adults about their levels of happiness over the past year. While only slightly higher, since the beginning of the pandemic, men are reporting higher rates of happiness than women.
Gender gaps at work during the pandemic
Working during a pandemic presents its own set of challenges, but women are reporting more negative interactions at work than men are. That’s not to say the gender gap at work hasn’t been an on-going issue – this set of data specifically look at the time span of the pandemic in the United States.
Given varying reports of mental health over the past year, it’s probably not surprising that since the end of 2020, women are experiencing higher rates of burnout at work – a three percentage point difference from men.
Right now, burnout is higher among women of all ages when compared to men but it is especially high for younger women. There is a roughly 3-4 percentage point difference between men and women across all age groups.
Another important note about work situations: At a time when 56% of people who are financially “worse off” due to the pandemic are women, it’s important to note that working women are 12% more likely than working men to say they’re not compensated fairly at their jobs.
Exercise, diet, and feelings about appearance
Restrictions on where we can and can’t go, financial limitations, and the stress that naturally occurs from living in a pandemic undoubtedly influence how people are able to take care of themselves physically.
Continuous tracking data from CivicScience show that men and dads have been able to exercise much more often in the last year than women and moms.
While less drastic than data on exercise habits, women were 17% more likely than men to report eating healthy foods less often during the pandemic.
Additionally, they were nearly 30% more likely than men to say they’re eating more frequently as a result of the pandemic.
Disparities in perceived physical appearance
In the past year, women were more likely to report that they feel less attractive than their peers when compared to men.
While this number has been historically high according to CivicScience syndicated data, this story has been shifting. Over the course of 2020, we observed a three percentage point decrease in women reporting they feel “less physically attractive” than others.
Women also were 23% more likely than men to say they’ve gained weight during the pandemic according to data collected in February 2021.
It’s important to note that someone’s weight does not equate to how healthy someone is. Moreover, similar to appearance data, we see this same trend around weight consistently with women. Data from the last year show that 59% of women consider themselves overweight compared to only 52% of men. These numbers are not much different from when CivicScience began tracking this question over six years ago.
Gender differences in personal finance
As mentioned previously, a past study showed that women – specifically moms and younger women – are experiencing more financial insecurity as a result of the pandemic. Further analysis shows that women more were more likely to report that they are not working or getting paid (which includes layoffs, furloughs, as well as unemployment by choice).
Women were also more likely than men to say they’ve had trouble affording food or essential items within the past year AND nearly 20% even went so far as to say they’ve missed at least one major bill payment in order to buy essentials.
The financial insecurity that women are more likely to experience seems to have more long-term ramifications. Within the past year alone, 87% of men report having access to liquid investable assets within the last year while only 82% of women say the same.
Furthermore, within the last year, nearly one-quarter of women said they aren’t able to save any of their income on average each month compared to less than 20% of men. They’re also 25% less likely than men to say they contribute 11% or more.
Stay tuned for further studies on how the pandemic is impacting different groups of Americans. Sign up to receive our twice-weekly insights here.