Are Women Getting Angrier?

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Credit: Julien L/Unsplash

According to a Gallup annual survey, female wrath has increased globally during the previous ten years. How could this be?

It’s always an emotion

Two years ago Tahsha Renee was standing in her kitchen when a deep, dark, hollow scream emerged from the depths of her lungs.

“Anger has always been an emotion that’s easy for me to tap into,” she says.

But this was like nothing she had felt before.

It was in the midst of the pandemic and she had had enough.

The BBC’s analysis has found that since 2012 more women than men report feeling sadness and worry, though both genders have been steadily trending upwards.

That doesn’t surprise Sarah Harmon, a therapist in the US.

“I’m a mom of two young kids who was working from home and there was just this intense, low-grade frustration that was building to complete rage,” she says.

A year later she took to the field again. 

As a result, they reduced their working hours.

This was the case even when they were the higher earner in the family.

In some countries the difference in the number of women and men who say they felt anger the previous day is much higher than the global average.

 

Psychiatrist Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar believes this results from tensions that have emerged as more women in these countries have become educated, employed and economically independent.

“At the same time, they are tethered down by archaic, patriarchal systems and culture,” she says. 

Every Friday evening at rush hour in Chennai in India, she witnesses this dynamic in action.

“You see the men relax, going to a tea shop and smoking.

Many women start chopping vegetables on their way back home on the train.”

“In the past, she says, it wasn’t considered appropriate for women to say they are angry, but that’s changing.”

 

Progress for Women?

The BBC 100 Women list each year names 100 inspiring and influential women around the world. This year it is honouring the progress made since the first list, 10 years ago – so the BBC commissioned Savanta ComRes to ask women in 15 countries to compare the present with 2012.

  • At least half of women surveyed in each country say they feel more able to make their own financial decisions than 10 years ago
  • At least half in each country except the US and Pakistan also feel it’s easier for women to discuss consent with a romantic partner
  • In most countries, at least two-thirds of women surveyed said social media had made a positive impact on their lives – though in the US and UK the figure was under 50%
  • In 12 out of 15 countries 40% or more of women surveyed say freedom to express their views is an area where their life has progressed most in the last 10 years
  • 46% of those surveyed in the US feel it’s harder for women to access medically safe abortion than it was 10 years ago

The pandemic’s effect on women’s work may also be having an impact.

“It’s pseudo-maternal work and poorly paid.”

And with no kind of legitimate boundaries.

In the US, much has been written about the burden of the pandemic on women but results from the Gallup World Poll don’t indicate that women there are angrier than men.

“Women in the US feel very deep shame about anger,” says Soraya Chemaly, and may be more likely to report their anger as stress or sadness.

“In a way that’s actually facilitating change. And they’re using their anger to do it,” she says.

“You need rage and anger,” agrees Ginette Azcona at UN Women. “Sometimes you need these, to shake things up – and have people pay attention and listen.”

 

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Source: BBC

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