You may be familiar with the mental burden, this responsibility that rests on women’s shoulders to think and organize the life of their home. A study conducted by OpinionWay (1) for Qare, a company specialized in teleconsultation, highlights another phenomenon, which again mainly affects women: the medical burden.
Making appointments for vaccines, taking your children to medical appointments, treating minor ailments, stocking your medicine cabinet… All of these medical care tasks are the responsibility of women in most households.
At least this is what the women interviewed by Opinion Way in a survey on the subject say, especially women under 50, whose household consists of children.
- 67% of women believe they are the most important parent who takes on all the medical duties for the childrena share that even goes up to 82% at CSP+
- 70% of women say they regularly take care of their partner’s health (72% in childless couples versus 56% in men).
Money and stress: the impact of medical burdens on women
But it’s not just the mental load associated with health. Women also spend more money on health-related costs. 14% of women under 50 (compared to 7% of men) say they spend more than 100 euros per month and 72% less than 100 euros.
This investment in health, his own and that of his household, weighs on women’s morale. Half of them feel so stressed by these medical tasks in their daily lives (compared to 30% of men). The same proportion of women are more concerned about the health of their home… than their own!
“These inequalities are also due to physiological differences between men and women. As an example we can mention menstruation (which amounts to an average of 2,600 days in a woman’s life!), contraception, pregnancy… Specific problems with men’s health usually arise later in life. †
Julie Salomon, pediatrician and medical director of Qare
According to the specialist, inequalities between women and men “may be reinforced by gender bias in public policy”† She then mentions vaccination against the papilloma virus as an example in a Qare press release: “We recommended vaccination for girls because they are the ones in whom the virus causes a significant number of serious complications (especially cervical cancer). However, it is a sexually transmitted disease, including in boys, and can cause complications that are less common but just as serious. We have therefore bet on the compliance and involvement of women in adhering to this vaccination, in order to reduce the incidence of this pathology, by betting less on the treatment of men (while it has been proposed for almost 10 years in some countries such as Australia )! †
However, the pediatrician wants to make an optimistic argument: “ However, something is changing: since last year, boys are now also vaccinated in France. † Because it is by combating gender stereotypes at the heart of families, but also by implementing gender neutral government policies that women’s mental, medical and even sexual burdens can finally be reduced.
(1) Survey conducted from 24 to 28 February 2022 by Opinion Way for Qare, among a sample of 1039 people representative of the French population, aged 18 and over. Sample structured according to the quota method (gender, age, CSP, agglomeration category, residential area).