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The World's Most Stressed Women

A new Nielsen survey of women in 21 countries shows that women in emerging nations are more stressed than those in the developed world, and that women in India are the most stressed of all.

Nielsen measured stress by asking women

  • If they often felt pressured for time
  • If they rarely had time to relax
  • If they felt stressed/overworked most of the time.
In emerging markets, the most stressed women were in:
  • India, where 87 percent say they are stressed or pressured for time
  • Mexico, where 74 percent say the same
  • Russia, where 69 percent agree
In developed countries, women appear to be most stressed in:
  • Spain (66 percent)
  • France (65 percent)
  • Italy (64 percent)
Stress and Economics
Overall, women in the developing nations covered by the survey were more stressed than their developed-world counterparts. Sixty-two percent of women emerging markets said they often felt pressured for time, compared to 54 percent of women in more developed countries.

Nielsen ties much of women's stress to financial pressures. They note that in emerging markets, there isn't likely to be much money left over after paying for the necessities. Women in these countries told Nielsen that if they had extra money, they would use it for basics such as food and clothing. Women in more developed countries were more likely to say any extra income would be allocated not just to food but to vacations, paying off debt, and building up a savings account.

Stress Among Generations
Nielsen believes that finances play a role in the differing stress levels of three generations of women, whom they've dubbed "daughters," "mothers," (average age: 47) and grandmothers (average age: 67). While Nielsen doesn't provide hard numbers, the researchers say that over all:

  • "Daughters" (average age: 30) are the most stressed, partly because many of them are relatively new parents and their finances are the most uncertain
  • "Mothers" (average age: 47) are a bit less stressed, at least partly because they're seen as moving toward financial comfort
  • "Grandmothers" (average age: 67) are the most at ease. Nielsen says this is because they are financially stable and the most likely to report that they have a good work-life balance. (Retirement, even part-time retirement, can do that.)
Nielsen surveyed about 6,500 women in 21 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States

How stressed do you think U.S. women are? Why?


Image courtesy of flickr user archer10 (Dennis)
Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. Follow her on twitter at