Figures of a recent study by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, showing that European women are over twice more than likely to develop depression than men, has raised issues regarding the social, economic and political role women are put into or actively play in our society.
Of course with any study comes a list of extraneous variables. For example the results may have been heavily impacted by the fact that not all men will seek help for their depression or even realise they have it.
Nonetheless it cannot be denied that the pressures women face on a day-to-day basis can have the ability to go onto cause various mental health issues, and stem from the environment in the home, workplace and everywhere else in between.
Women, as the natural bearers of children and regardless of the 9 months of morning sickness, weight gain and sore joints are expected to adopt this role in a tenderly and motherly way. We are taught that women who may not posses any kind of maternal instinct are disrupting the cycle of life and in many cases, becuase of lack of kowledge, postnatal depression is misunderstood and treated in a suspect manner.
In regards to the work place, women are automatically given roles to play. You’ll instantly be labelled as The Bitch, The emotional one or even the one that uses their looks to get ahead. People are quick to slot you into these positions before your first day has ended. Then when you get home you are expected to cook, clean, care for the children before you’ve had the chance to sit down. So regardless of whether you are single or married, a working mother or stay at home mum these responsibilities are still at the forefront of many womens lives.
Also the rhetoric used by which we address the difference between mothers who work and mothers who rear children at home is telling of the way in which we continue to attack women in this country.
Those of us who work are deemed selfish for what many say is wanting it all. Just because a woman wants to be financially independent and have a family, society is quick to call her greedy,unrealistic and issues of stress she may suffer comes as a result of her own decisions. Likewise women who stay at home to raise a family (which is a job, a 24/7 unpaid job) are constantly asked why they are not in work as if they are not contributing enough to society, by raising their children.
Within these accusations we not only attack each specific group, we manage to create a fracture between them, pitting them against each other. Feelings of envy and jealousy arise and each group can’t help but covert what the other group has, and vice versa.
Creating a discourse that encourages us to go against the tide of female solidarity will not help women to women relations and will only add to the stress women are exposed to.