LONDON: In good news for working women, new research reveals that women who were employed consistently during their prime years had better physical health than their non-working counterparts as they reached golden years.
Working women were also less depressed over the next decades as they entered old age, and even lived longer, said Jennifer Caputo, research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Germany.
“Many women in this study went to work in low-status or traditionally male-dominated fields. It is perhaps especially telling that despite these less equitable conditions, they were healthier later in life than women who didn’t work outside the home,” said Caputo in a paper published in the journal Demography.
Caputo and her coauthors analysed data from the National Longitudinal Survey of mature women in the US. The survey began in 1967 with about 5,100 women aged 30-44, and followed them until they were 66-80 years old in 2003.
Their analyses showed that women who regularly worked for pay during the first 20 years of the study reported fewer physical health limitations and symptoms of depression as they aged over the next 16 years than women who didn’t work for pay, including housewives.
They also had more than 25 per cent lower risk of having died by 2012. Consistently negative experiences with work did appear to take a toll on women’s health later on.
Those who perceived discrimination at work, didn’t particularly like their jobs, and said they did not feel committed to their work had poorer physical and mental health as they aged. — IANS