Stress and Spanish Women

¡Buenas tardes! (Good afternoon!) TRIS readers! 🙂

I apologize for the delay between the previous post and today’s – it’s honestly been pretty hectic around here lately. To give you an idea, last week for me included: house hunting, attending a few job interviews, and making a speedy trip to Madrid. Soon I’ll write a post updating you all about the changes that will take place for Diego and I next month! 🙂

The inspiration for this blog post came to me while cruising around on the Metro (that’s underground public transportation system of Madrid) on Friday. It was there that I overlooked someone reading a newspaper with a front page byline proclaiming:

 Las mujeres españolas son las más estresadas de Europa

(Spanish women are the most stressed of Europe)

The title caught my attention so I figured I would read the article and report to you all at home what, according to this newspaper, causes Spanish women to endure so much stress in comparison to their European peers.

According to the article, 66% of the Spanish women who responded to a Nielsen study admitted to feeling stressed because they “lack time to relax and spend time doing things for themselves”. Other European countries aren’t too far behind the Spanish – the article states that 65% of the French women and 64% of the Italian women questioned in the same survey reported to feeling under pressure for the same reason: the lack of time through out the day to dedicate to their own well being.

The article goes on to say that Spanish women are under so much stress because of their new “fore frontal” role in the work place. Within the past 30 years, the women of Spain have come to work just as many hours away from the home as men. It also appears that, due to a growing equality between the two sexes in the work place, women in Spain are now expected to assume the same responsibilities as their male co-workers.

The article states that according to a different survey 80% of the Spanish people interviewed believe that:   los hombres y las mujeres están igual de capacitados para trabajar, cuidar a los niños, tener más educación, más salario, involucrarse en política y tomar decisiones de compra o ser jefa de una empresa. (Men and women are equality capable in respect to: their professional work, taking care of children, their pursuit of higher education, obtaining a high salary, getting involved in politics, making household purchases, and being a boss of a company)

Therefore, it appears that Spanish women are under stress because of their need to juggle both personal and professional responsibilities and, at the same time, attempt to participate in sectors of society (such as upper management and politics) that were traditionally dominated by men.

It seems that European and American women have much in common in respect to what our societies now expect from us. Gone are the days of labeling women as strictly mothers and domestic workers – we are now excepted to do all that as well as maintain a thriving professional life. Furthermore, because there exists only so many hours in a day, it’s difficult to find the time to accomplish all of one’s professional and family duties and also relax and pursue one’s own needs/interests. Based on all that, who can blame Spanish women for reporting to feeling stressed?

Back again to the article, in the end I found its information a little underwhelming. What I was lead to believe from its title was that it would provide insight into why Spanish women are so stressed when compared to other European women. I was left wondering: What about Spanish life/culture specifically contributes to their high stress level?

Never fear folks! As always, The Ray is here to try to tackle those difficult questions based on her own personal observations 🙂

To be fair, I can’t take all the credit because it was actually Diego who came up with this idea as to why Spanish women have high stress levels.

He pointed out to me that it probably has something to do with the typical Spanish work time table…. As it turns out, here in Spain it is not uncommon to have one’s work day divided up into two shifts. Many people work from 8 or 9 until 1 or 2 in the afternoon – take a 2 or 3 hour break for lunch – then return to the office and finish up around 8 or 9 pm. Imagine that schedule combined with a commute to work and you could potentially be out of the house from 7 in the morning until 10 at night… pretty crazy right?

Based on these facts, it’s likely that if a Spanish woman has children and also a job that requires her to work in the morning and in the afternoon then she is scrambling at the end of the day to find time for herself.

What do you think about this type of work schedule (working two 3-4 hour shifts with a long break in between)?

Also, even though men and women are viewed by the majority as being equally responsible at home and at the work place – Are domestic chores always shared 50/50 by a couple? Do women, in the end, end up having to work just as many hours at men at their jobs and then more hours than men doing things like cleaning at home and taking care of children?

Those are some tough questions for today! It would be interesting to find a study about the stress levels of American women – I wonder if the same percentage of us report to being stressed out by the lack of time to dedicate to ourselves??

I want to end this post about stress with a link to a blog about Zen Habits – if you are feeling a little “strung out” yourself, I would recommend checking this blog out! (I personally read it ever week!) 😉

¡Hasta pronto!


8 thoughts on “Stress and Spanish Women

  1. Chores are 50-50 as long as there is a chore chart!:)
    And about the work schedules here in Spain it really sucks… On my other jobs I used to have a 6h shifts but on this new pharmacy that I have the split schedule it really feels like you have no time for yourself.. My actual schedule is M-F 9:30-13:30 and then you go back at 16:45-8… So you basically spend your whole day at the place… Plus having to work on Saturday mornings from 9:30-13:30 again… So it really sucks! Now add to that having a baby(s)+ chores + hobbies????

  2. Amen to that sister! 😉 haha your comment would be perfect evidence to my post…. if you were a woman! No seriously, the point is that many people here work a “split shift” and as I witness from you – you have 0 time for yourself! 😦 Imagine the combined with the pressures of being a mother or father, it would be even more stressful….

  3. This is how I feel! I take care of a wee one all morning then head to work until 7pm and work Saturdays as well. But when you need that money, there’s not really another option. Then when I have some ‘free’ time there is laundry, yard work and other stuff that has to get done and there is little time for yourself. Especially running around with a 4 year old all morning- it takes a lot out of you. And it all kind of just builds up until you have a little bit of a break down from the stress. I think being a mom is the hardest most stressfull job there is! Especially a working super-mom, I can’t even imagine! Interesting post Rachel, and Diego I’d like to see this chore chart you speak of 😉

    • I thought of you while writing this post since you are a similar schedule plus the responsibility of taking care of a kiddo. It’s you who is the superwoman Steph! haha the infamous chore chart – seriously I think that thing saved our relationship when we first started living together in Sydney. It’s the best because it’s clear, you know what you have to do and when, and you don’t feel like a jerk reminding the other person to do his chore if he forgets because it’s written down on paper! 😉

  4. After reading your post, David and I actually had a discussion at dinner about the topic. We where saying it sounded so bogus that your second work shift lasted until 9pm! …and Diego you say that you work Saturday mornings as well? You better really love your job because you ARE there 24/7. Also, we were wondering if kids have this same schedule? Do they go to school and have a large break for lunch as well? If that is the case, then maybe it would be some nice family time for everyone to share a meal together… but then that may not work because the kids would not also be in school until 9am!? Please calm my inquiring mind.

    • Yes, I think some schools have like a break in the middle for the kiddos – that was how Diego’s school worked anyways… but in his case he ate his lunch (around 2pm) at the school and didn’t come home – but I am sure that there are children that go to their homes to have lunch.

      Okay now I got interested in your questions and have been looking around on the internet – from what I understand this idea of the “double shift” is an old tradition is Spain (made so that families could all eat lunch together I suppose) and some schools still have it (meaning the kids eat at home for a couple hours then go back to school) but i think more and more those schools are abandoning the practice and most are now continual hours like in the US. Good question Erin!!

      As with working on Saturdays – it’s a special case for Diego because he works at a pharmacy – I don’t think it’s typical for people to work on the weekends if they have like an office job.

  5. I actually thought that a lot of Spanish women do not work. I thought that their husbands take on that responsibility which affords the wives the household/child rearing tasks. Perhaps this article reflects a recent new responsibility for Spanish women because Spain has “recently” become a democratic society. If that’s the case, there’s going to be a lot of stressful dama’s until they readjust their work/hour/time schedule.
    An aside. I’d like to know the work/hour/time schedule of those stressful French and Italian women. Or is their stress related to a completely separate issue.

    Anxiously awaiting your future follow ups.

    • That’s what I wanted to know to mom! I wish they would have mentioned in the article specifically why the women in each country are stressed. But the article was pretty vague and mainly about how women have entered the workforce and are expected to work as much as men and then how they (more than likely) also have more responsibilities at home than men do. In the US I think that women have been working outside of the home longer than in Spain – maybe that’s why we are “less stressed” because we’ve had more time to get use to the new system and today men in the US are more conditioned to help around at the home? Who’s to say! Thanks for the comments!!! 🙂

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