Despite a small number of improvements since last year, 'Deloitte’s Women @ Work: A Global Outlook' indicates that women are facing mounting pressures in the workplace, their personal lives, and their communities.

The report which is in its 4th year revealed that globally women feel their rights are backsliding, they are experiencing increased stress and taking on the majority of household tasks at home. Alongside this they are experiencing non-inclusive behaviors at work, are concerned for their safety and feel unable to disclose when they are experiencing women’s health challenges.

Again, the report stated that half of women say their stress levels are higher than they were a year ago and a similar number say they’re concerned or very concerned about their mental health. Mental health is a top three concern for women globally (48%), falling behind only their financial security (51%) and rights (50%).

Similarly, there are several potential factors behind declining mental health levels, but among them is an inability to disconnect from work.

The survey findings showed a link between working hours and mental health. While half of women who typically just work their contracted hours describe their mental health as good, this declines to 23% for those who regularly work extra hours. Only 37% of women say they feel able to switch off from their work.

Despite these concerning findings, more than half of women say they aren’t receiving adequate mental health support from employers, and two-thirds of women don’t feel comfortable talking about their mental health in the workplace.

Though this highlights a need for significant improvement, it does show progress from last year’s findings when even more women said they did not receive adequate mental health support from their employer and did not feel comfortable speaking about mental health in the workplace.

Women bear most responsibility for household

The report also found out that women are feeling the weight of misbalanced caregiving and domestic responsibilities.

Notably, 50% of women who live with a partner and have children say they take the most responsibility for childcare—up from 46% in 2023, with only 12% saying this falls to their partner. Further, 57% of women who live with a partner and are involved in care of another adult say they take the greatest responsibility for this—up from 44% in 2023, while only 5% say this responsibility falls to their partner.

Meanwhile, more than two in five women bear the most responsibility for cleaning and other domestic tasks, similar to 2023.

Women feel unsafe in the workplace

The report also revealed that nearly half of women are worried about their safety when they are at work or traveling to or for work.

“These concerns may be founded on experience: one in 10 of these women have been harassed while commuting or traveling for work, 16% deal with customers or clients that have harassed them or behaved in a way that has made them feel uncomfortable. Nearly one in 10 have been harassed by a colleague”.

Overall, 31% of respondents have experienced microaggressions, 4% have experienced sexual harassment, and 8% have experienced other types of harassment at work in the past 12 months.

Further, a quarter of women say that people in senior positions within their organizations have made inappropriate actions or comments toward them.

Women are working through pain

More than one-quarter of women experience health challenges related to menstruation, menopause, or fertility. And across each of these challenges, a common theme remains true: many are working through pain or discomfort.

For example, around 40% of women experiencing high levels of pain or discomfort from menopause work through their symptoms, almost double the percentage who said the same in 2023. More women say they don’t feel comfortable discussing their menopause symptoms with their manager (14%) compared to last year (10%), perhaps because 16% of women say citing menopause as a reason for taking time off work has negatively affected their career—a sharp jump from 6% in 2023.

Flexibility key to retaining women

The report added that as companies examine hybrid and return-to-office policies, flexibility and work/life balance are key to retaining women

This year has seen a notable improvement in women’s experiences with hybrid working—including when it comes to exclusion, predictability, and flexibility. However, about three in 10 women still experience exclusion from meetings, a lack of predictability in their working pattern, and a lack of flexibility.

More than 40% of women surveyed report that their employer has recently implemented a mandatory return to office. Of these women, a quarter are required to be on-site full time.

Some of these women report that they have made adjustments to their work and personal lives following the introduction of such a policy—and some report an impact to their mental health and their productivity levels: just over a third say they have asked to reduce their hours, 30% say they had to relocate, 26% say their mental health has been negatively impacted, and 20% say their productivity has decreased.

5,000 women were surveyed in workplaces across 10 countries.

To view the full results of Deloitte’s Women @ Work 2024: A Global Outlook, and to learn what organizations can do to address these challenges, visit:

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.