- Women who work in male-dominated workplaces are prone to plaguing anxiety that could stick with them for years, according to new research from Indiana University.
- The researchers focused on workplaces where men make up 85% or more of the workforce, including industries like construction and engineering, reports HRM America. The researchers found that the cortisol levels of women in these workplaces were more unstable than average, indicating higher stress levels.
- This study shows that addressing diversity may require more than simply hiring more women. A business would have to pay attention to the culture their business reinforces and see how that affects the women they hire, reports HRM.
Cortisol regulates blood pressure and immune responses and is typically released in times of social stress – meaning high levels of cortisol over long periods of time can be hugely detrimental to health, says HRM. Basically: the stress women may feel in men-dominated fields is based in physiology, not imagined.
Time reports that women in male-dominated jobs – called “occupational tokens” by the study – may experience more instances of social isolation, sexual harassment and low levels of support in the work place, despite perhaps “joining in the banter,” says Time. These results indicate that companies may need to change how they perceive certain behaviors in the workplace in order to create a healthy atmosphere for all employees.