Earlier this month we noted how Thomson Reuters had named Afghanistan the world's most dangerous country for women. Now Nielsen is posing a new question: Where are women most stressed? To get an answer, the research firm asked women in ten emerging markets and eleven developed markets if they feel pressured for time, rarely have time to relax, and feel stressed and overworked.
To be sure, the survey certainly doesn't cover the whole world--there are only a few countries from the Middle East and Africa, for example--but the results are nonetheless interesting. Nielsen found that women in emerging economies are significantly more stressed than their counterparts in developed countries, and Indian women are the most stressed of all, with a whopping 87 percent of respondents in India saying they are pressed for time. And the least stressed women? According to data provided to The Atlantic Wire by Nielsen, Malaysian women reported the lowest stress levels of any emerging market in all three categories surveyed: 44 percent said they were often pressed for time, 23 percent said they were often overworked/stressed, and 31 percent said they rarely had time to relax.
What accounts for stress in the developing world? Nielsen writes that while "many women today are wearing multiple hats by balancing both career and home/family responsibilities," in emerging markets "this revolutionary change is in the early stages of development." The firm also points to financial pressures, noting that women in the developing world have "little spare cash remaining after the staples are covered to kick-back, relax and go on holiday." Yet while women in developing countries are more stressed than their counterparts in the developed world, they're also more optimistic about what the future holds. Women in emerging markets generally felt their daughters would have more opportunities than they did, while those in developed nations had reached a "plateau of hope," believing that their daughters would have the same opportunities, not more.