Now more than ever before, women make up a greater share of the workforce.
In fact, the percentage of women in the workforce has about doubled in the past 50 years, with more than 60 percent of women employed today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Coupled with a declining percentage of men in the workforce (down 13 percent to 73 percent in the same period of time), women are making up more and more of the ranks of the daily workforce.
As part of National Women’s Health Week, which runs May 10-May 16, NIOSH wants to raise awareness of working women’s health and safety issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of which NIOSH is a part, says women are more likely to have work-related cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, respiratory diseases, infectious and parasitic diseases, and anxiety and stress disorders.
Women’s work-related health concerns differ from men’s for a number of reasons, including different types of jobs being performed, as well as social, economic and cultural factors. For example, because women are more likely to hold part-time jobs, which are typically more unstable, they could be more afraid to voice safety concerns for fear of losing their jobs, the CDC says.
Apart from straightforward safety concerns, women also face sexual harassment, which can impact physical and mental health and cause anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem, alienation, insomnia, nausea and headaches.