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More women in Alabama, around the globe reporting work burnout, mental health concerns


Women in Alabama and around the world are reporting more burnout from work and concerns over mental health. The data-driven analytic website Insights to Action conducted a survey across ten countries. More than half of women weighing in reported distress over their psychological wellbeing.


Meantime, the outlet reports fewer women feel comfortable discussing or disclosing their mental health at their workplace. Researchers say this could be leading to job burnout, which is a type of stress linked to work.

The Mayo Clinic reports job burnout includes being worn out physically or emotionally. It also may involve feeling useless, powerless and empty. Burnout isn't a medical diagnosis, but some experts say they think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout.


Cassandra Happe is an analyst at the financial website WalletHub. She said this also comes as working women are trying to balance multiple responsibilities inside and outside the workplace.

“I think one thing that came out of the pandemic that has really resonated with women, especially those who are starting a family and trying to find that work life balance, is the ability to work from home, whether it's a fully remote role or a hybrid role, having that flexibility in the workplace definitely makes a huge impact,” she said.


In WalletHub's study of the Best & Worst States for Women in 2024, the findings show that Alabama is one of the worst states for women. The Yellow Hammer State ranks in at No. 48 on the list. The report compared all 50 states and the District of Columbia across two key dimensions: “Women’s Economic & Social Well-Being” and “Women’s Health Care & Safety”.


The only states that ranked lower than Alabama are Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi. Happe said she believes that women in the U.S., including in Alabama, are often treated second to men.

“It comes down to a lot of existing [pay] gaps that we as a society have been working to close," she said. "Unfortunately, they still exist in certain places across the country when it comes to pay and access for women."


The gender pay gap is the difference between the earnings of men and women. There is no single explanation for why progress toward narrowing the pay gap has all but stalled in the 21st century, according to the Pew Research Center. The think tank reports women generally begin their careers closer to wage parity with men, but they lose ground as they age and progress through their work lives, a pattern that has remained consistent over time.


According to US Census data, women earn only 84 cents for every $1 earned by men in full-time, year-round positions. All earning women (including part-time, full-time, part-year) earn only 78 cents for every $1 earned by men.

Meantime, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Alabama women who were full-time wage and salary workers had median usual weekly earnings of $837, or 79.8% of the $1,049 median usual weekly earnings of their male counterparts. Happe said women in Alabama don't always have the same access to resources as their male counterparts do.

“I do think it's something on a state level [that] should definitely be recognized, and policymakers should be working to make it [where] women aren't in this situation… be it because they don't have the same access to resources as maybe male counterparts do, or maybe it's the limitations that come with the cost of childcare for working moms, which can definitely contribute to lower incomes and less money in their pockets when they're having to pay to for childcare that may be extremely expensive, compared to what they're making if they're making a minimum wage,” she explained. "There's oftentimes a pay gap in there, and it's important that on a state level [for] policymakers look to implement policies and laws that help to close that gap.”

Alabama enacted legislation requiring equal pay for men and women back in June 2019. The signing of Alabama House Bill 225 made Alabama the 49th state to adopt equal pay legislation. Prior to the signing, Alabama was one of just two states that did not have equal pay protection under state law.

The act prohibits an employer from paying an employee a lower wage rate than an employee of another race or sex for equal work in the same establishment, where job performance requires “equal skill, effort, education, experience, and responsibility” and occurs “under similar working conditions.”

In addition to women experiencing more burnout compared to men, the Wall Street Journal reports women are also leaving the workforce at a higher rate than men. The news outlet says specific groups, including lower-ranking employees and female middle managers, are more likely to be weighing their job options in a tight labor market.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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