Gallup’s annual survey suggests that over the last 10 years, women have become more unsatisfied and angry worldwide. What could this mean?
Tahsha Renee, two years ago, was in her kitchen, when she heard a dark, deep, and hollow sound coming from her lungs. She was taken by surprise.
She says, “Anger was always an emotion I could tap into.” This was unlike anything she’d ever felt before.
She was tired of living in the middle of the pandemic. After spending 20 minutes wandering around her home, she was angry at everything.
She felt a physical release after she screamed.
Tahsha is a life coach and hypnotherapist. She has been gathering women all around the globe on Zoom to discuss everything that makes them angry and then screaming it out.
A BBC analysis of 10 years worth of Gallup World Poll data shows that women are becoming more angry.
The poll has more than 120,000 respondents in over 150 countries every year. It asks, among others, how they feel for the past day.
Women report experiencing negative emotions such as anger, sadness and stress more often than men when it comes to worry, anxiety, stress, or depression.
More women feel sadness and worry than men since 2012. However, both genders are steadily rising.
The gap between men and women is growing in anger management. Both genders had similar anger levels and stress in 2012, Nine years later, women feel more angry – six points higher than men – and are also feeling more stressed. There was also a significant divergence at the time of pandemic.
This is not surprising to Sarah Harmon, an American therapist. She got together a bunch of women clients to get out in the field, shout and stand at once.
She says, “I am a mother of 2 young children and I was working at home. There was an intense, low-grade frustration building up to total rage.”
One year later, she returned to the field. She says, “That was the viral scream.” The journalist from one of her mum’s online groups picked it up and reporters began calling all around the globe.
Sarah feels that she felt something women all over the world were feeling: a deep frustration at the way the pandemic burden was being placed on them.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies conducted a 2020 survey among almost 5,000 heterosexual parents in England and found that women took on more domestic duties during lockdown than their male counterparts. They also reduced their work hours. Even though they were the highest earner of the family, this was true.
Some countries have a higher proportion of men and women who feel angry than others.
The gap in Cambodia was 17.5% in 2021, while it was 12.5% in India and Pakistan.
Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, a psychiatrist believes that this may be due to tensions created by more women becoming economically and educationally independent.
She says, “At the exact same time, these women are tied down by archaic patriarchal systems, culture, and system.” Anger is caused by the dissonance that exists between patriarchal systems at home and emancipated women outside of it.
She witnesses the dynamic every Friday night in Chennai, India at rush hour.
You see men relaxing, taking a break at a teashop and having a cigarette. Then you see the women rush to catch the train or bus. These women are thinking about how to prepare their meals. On their return journey home, many women begin to chop vegetables.
She says that it was not normal for women to express anger in the past. But, things are changing. The anger level is higher now that women have more freedom to express themselves.
Each year, the BBC 100 Women List names 100 influential and inspiring women from around the globe. It is honoring the achievements made since its first listing, 10 years ago. The BBC asked Savanta KomRes to survey women from 15 countries in order to assess the past and 2012 to create the BBC 100 Women list.
It is possible that the pandemic has had an effect on women’s employment. According to Ginette Azcona (UN Women data scientist), there had been slow progress in women’s participation before 2020. It stalled in 2020. In 169 countries, the projected number of women working in 2020 will be lower than in 2019.
Soraya Chemaly (US-based feminist writer) says that “We have an sex-segregated labor market.” She wrote about anger in Rage Becomes Him, her 2019 book.
Her observation is that pandemic-related burnout often occurs in women-dominated fields like the care industry.
It’s pseudo-maternal and low paid. They have high levels of suppressed, diverted and repressed anger. It has much to do with the expectation of working tirelessly. There are no legal boundaries.
She says that heterosexual relationships often have similar dynamics.
Although much is written in the US about the impact of the pandemic upon women, Gallup World Poll results don’t show that they are more angry than their male counterparts.
Soraya Chemaly says that women in America feel shameful about their anger. She suggests they may report it as sadness or stress.
Perhaps most importantly, American women report more stress and sadness levels than American men.
This is true also in other locations. Women are more stressed than men in Brazil, Uruguay and Peru as well as Cyprus, Greece, Cyprus, Uruguay, Peru, Cyprus, and Peru. Nearly six out of ten Brazilian women reported feeling stressed the day before, while just four percent said that they felt this way for men.
Tahsha Renee believes that many American women have reached the point where they can say “No More!”
They are actually helping to facilitate change. She says they are using their anger for change.
UN Women’s Ginette Azcona agrees that anger and rage are essential. These are necessary to stir things up and get people paying attention.
Gallup surveys more than 120,000 adults annually in more than 150 different countries. These people represent more than 98%, and Gallup uses randomly chosen, national representative samples. Interviews can be conducted face-to-face or over the telephone. There is a wide range of factors that affect the margin of error in each country. The margin of error for smaller sample sizes, such as when you divide a set by gender, will be greater. You can download the full data table for Gallup’s 2021 poll here.
Savanta ComRes conducted a survey of 15,723 18+ women online in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico, USA, Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Peru, China, Brazil, India, Pakistan, China, India, Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UK, 1,067), and Ukraine between 17 October 2022 and 16 November 2022. The data were weighted so that they are representative of all women across each country, regardless of their age or region. Each country has a margin of error that is +/- 3 You can find full data tables here