Ladies, it’s not just you. Globally we’re all stressed

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So ladies, I’m sure if you’re like me and any of the women I know personally, you have been running hither and yon to keep all of your hats – home, work, parents, children, finances, and relationships – in the air all at once.

So ladies, I’m sure if you’re like me and any of the women I know personally, you have been running hither and yon to keep all of your hats – home, work, parents, children, finances, and relationships – in the air all at once. And sometimes, you find yourself wondering, “Is it just me? Am I the only one feeling like I’m an exotic juggling act in the three ring circus of life trying to keep all these things balanced?” Well, shout hallelujah and signal the ringmaster to shine the spotlight on you in the center ring because the answer is a resounding No! You are not alone! Nielsen’s latest comprehensive report Women of Tomorrow: a Study of Women around the World confirms women around the globe are feeling pressure like never before and are stressed!

Nielsen is known for its measurement capabilities and for analyzing consumer behavior and trends in media, online, mobile and more around the globe. We recently conducted this study among nearly 6500 women in 21 countries throughout Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America, representing 60 percent of the world’s population and 78 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. We included women in both developed markets – like ours – and several emerging markets like India and Nigeria.

Some of the key findings:

• 90 percent of women believe their role is evolving for the better from gender equality to workplace opportunities.

• Women control $12 trillion in global spending of $18 trillion, but want to share jointly in life responsibilities and decision making

• While women are indeed increasingly empowered, we are increasingly stressed.

Women everywhere around the world report being pressured for time, rarely have the time to unwind, feel stressed and overworked most of the time. And yes, want just a tad bit of help from the fellas’ from time to time.

How we cope with stress varies between developed and emerging markets. Our sisters in emerging countries are often faced with maintaining everyday basics like food and clothing. The percentage of their household spend on food is staggering. In Nigeria, for example, 40 percent of household spending is on food, vs. 7 percent in the U.S. So if women in emerging countries found themselves with any additional dollars it would go toward savings, clothes and education. While women in developed countries like ours are more likely to use extra cash for luxuries like vacations, savings and paying off debt.

In conducting this research, women were divided into three segments – daughters (average age 30), mothers (average age 47) and grandmothers (average age 67). The high stress factor is universal, but it breaks down generationally. The “daughter” generation is the most stressed. This stands to reason as this woman’s family is young and she has not likely achieved her full earning potential. Among “mothers” the stress is mid-level.

Makes sense because by the average age of 47, income levels are (usually) higher; but finances are still cause for concern. Lastly, “grandmothers” are the least stressed segment. Perhaps not surprisingly, grandmothers are also most likely to believe that they have successfully achieved that delicate work-life balance.

Consider this ladies: if based on our global spending power of $12 trillion we were our own country we’d be about the size of the United States (based on GDP). That’s a lot of power. So, there’s no doubt that you and I and our sisters across the globe are agents of change. Can you imagine how much more powerful we’d be if we got a little more support on the home front? So, when’s the last time you actually asked for the help you need? I’m just sayin’.

Cheryl Pearson-McNeil is senior vice president of public affairs and government relations for Nielsen.

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