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Double Burden Syndrome: When Unpaid Work Takes A Toll

Double Burden Syndrome: When Unpaid Work Takes A Toll by NeverGrowUp®

Have you ever inquired about your team members' experiences after they log out? You’d be surprised to discover that it is far from being as relaxed as you would expect. Most of the time, it is the women who are told "Find a way to manage your career and family” or worse, “You need to quit working to raise your family”.

Double Burden Syndrome is a common experience faced by many people, most often women, who find themselves juggling two roles, with one of them typically being unpaid work.

What is it all about?

The demand to manage multiple responsibilities. Or to put it more bluntly, the overwhelming weight of gender stereotypes.

Historically, this syndrome emerged as a result of the demands of the planned economy and an unequal distribution of labour within traditional families. It’s an age-old narrative where women are confined to their families while men serve as breadwinners!

Gender Inequality

The necessity of sacrifice

Even though work-life balance is a major focus for most people at work, women still encounter difficulties in the workplace because traditional gender roles greatly influence their experiences.

There exists a strong conscious belief that failing to meet family expectations equals failure in all aspects of life. This burden weighs heavily on women's minds, every day. In a survey, it was disheartening to discover that half of the women respondents admitted to sacrificing their careers for the sake of their families.

Unfortunately, this is not surprising as unrealistic expectations imposed on women often contribute to the most significant disparities in our society.

Could your workplace be adding to the Double Burden Syndrome?

Many workplace cultures still fall short of achieving equality. This burden is further made worse by non-inclusive policies, unfair hiring practices, and gender-based pay disparities for similar roles. Start with small steps to alleviate the double burden syndrome:

Give room for flexibility. Have flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible hours, or compressed workweeks. This gives room to your employees to balance their personal life.

Offer gender neutral policies. This includes pay equity, equal opportunities for advancement, and unbiased promotion processes. Having just policies is a good way of promoting fair distribution of responsibilities at work.

Set up child-care facilities. Provide child care assistance or subsidies to reduce financial burdens associated with childcare expenses. It is one of the many little ways in which you can help your employees feel less burdened.

Unreasonably heavy workloads, pressure to deliver outside working hours, and various other factors contribute to the Double Burden Syndrome. And unfortunately, much like other forms of inequalities, it goes unrecognised. The status quo is no longer acceptable and leaders must step in to solve the problem and enable a fair playing field for all.


Psst! This blog was made with💚 and created after some thought by a real person. #NoGenerativeAI


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