Another stressor that women are more likely to face is exposure to "negative psychosocial work characteristics" in the workplace, explain the researchers. These negative characteristics can include experiencing a lack of control, a lack of learning opportunities, a lack of upward mobility leading to job monotony, and a greater likelihood of being placed in jobs with low substantive complexity. This refers to how much intellectual and cognitive functioning is needed to perform a job. In a nutshell, jobs afforded to women may be unsatisfying and rife with sexist obstacles.


"Working long hours increases women’s exposure to these negative work characteristics, which might contribute to their overall burden of impaired health and chronic disease," write the researchers. It's worth noting that women in this study were tracked from 1978 to 2009, when the glass ceiling was even harder to break than it is now.

So not only do women have to take on most domestic duties in addition to their full-time job, but their full-time job may not  be as rewarding as it is for men. That's what you call a lose-lose. So how do we fix it?


The obvious answer is for employers to treat women equally—and for women to find a partner with whom they can share household and childrearing responsibilities. But the authors also suggest that employers can help by implementing social policies that specifically help unload the burden women face working double duty. This can include scheduling flexibility, childcare programs, more paid time off for maternity leave, the ability to work from home, and more paid sick leave.

Indeed, we've already seen how parents struggle more in the U.S. than any other country in the Western world, in large part because America doesn't have as many social policies in place to help them juggle work, life, and family. Considering women in the U.S. still do most of the childrearing, it's no wonder women are also suffering more when it comes to longterm health.


On that note, I'd like to formally take this moment to pitch a four-day workweek—for science, of course.

Taryn Hillin is Fusion's love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.