Women finding it harder than men to stay positive during the pandemic – particularly working mums

Working mums are most likely to feel the strains of the crisis and women are more likely to be concerned about the emotional and mental toll of the pandemic.

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Public Affairs
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New research by Ipsos MORI shows that women are much more likely to be finding life harder during the crisis than men and the strains are most keenly felt by working mums.  The survey, carried out online among 2,125 adults aged 18-75, shows that: 

  • Over half (55%) of women say they are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day compared with 44% of men. Six in ten women (59%) say they are finding it harder to stay positive about the future compared with half of men (49%). 
  • Among working parents, 55% of working mums say they are finding it harder to stay positive day-to-day compared with around a third of working dads (35%).  And the story is similar about staying positive about the future, where 57% of working mums say they are finding it harder to stay positive compared with 42% of working dads. 
  • Women are also more likely to say they are finding it harder to keep entertained (46% vs 38% for men), staying fit and healthy (43% vs 37% for men) being able to work (42% vs 36% for men) and being able to afford their usual expenses (36% vs 31% for men).  
  • The gender gap on these measures is wider among working parents, with working mums finding the hardships much greater than working dads across the board, including keeping entertained (56% working mums vs 40% working dads), staying fit and healthy (49% vs 37%), being able to afford your usual expenses (48% vs 37%) and staying in touch with family and friends (48% vs 36%).   

Women are more concerned than men about the mental and emotional toll the pandemic will have over the next 12 months.  The survey shows that:

  • Two in five Brits (39%) say that the pandemic is likely to have a negative impact on their mental health personally over the next year. A similar proportion (38%) say it will have a negative impact on their ability to do the things that make them feel fulfilled.  Around a third (35%) are personally worried about the impact on their financial situation.  
  • Women are more worried about these impacts than men (42% vs 35% of men on mental health and 41% vs 35% of men on their ability to do things that make them fulfilled).   And while there are similar levels of concern over these measures among working parents, working mums are significantly more likely than working dads to be concerned about the impact it will have on their mental health (44% vs 28%).  
  • One area where men are more concerned than women is the impact it will have on their relationships; single men are more worried about the impact of the pandemic on their romantic relationships than single women (30% vs 25%).  
  • On a more optimistic note, half of parents (48%) say that the Coronavirus crisis is likely to have a positive impact on their relationship with their children over the next year compared with just seven per cent who say it will have a negative impact.
  • On this measure, there is no difference between working mums and dads.  

Kully Kaur-Ballagan, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said: 

Throughout the pandemic and during lockdown women have borne much more of the emotional strains of the crisis. These new findings highlight the disproportionate impact the crisis has had on working mums – who are finding it more difficult to stay positive day-to-day and are more concerned about the impact on their mental health.
The strains women feel may be linked to the heightened economic uncertainty they face as result of the crisis, which as Britain enters into recession, are likely to be brought into sharper relief.  

Technical details 

  • Ipsos MORI interviewed a sample of 2,152 adults aged 18-75 in Great Britain using its online i:omnibus between 22nd and 24th July 2020. The sample included 449 people who are parents or guardians in work (190 male, 258 female).  Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age, working status and social grade within gender,  government office region and education.  All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
     

The author(s)

  • Kully Kaur-Ballagan Public Affairs

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