Despite bigger opportunities such as equal rights, increased flexibility in work-life balance and equal pay, a research has found that women are no longer the happier sex.
Past figures from "well-being" series of the United Kingdom's Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that women, on average, reported higher levels of happiness compared to men. But that no longer seems to be the case.
Nicknamed as the UK's "happiness index," new figures showed that there is no longer a gap in terms of happiness levels between the two sexes. The study, which started in 2011, also showed for the first time that the upward trend in the overall well-being of the Britons has slowed down.
"This is the first time we haven't seen year-on-year improvements in these particular measures since we began collecting the data in 2011," said Abbie Self, Director of Well-being, Inequalities, Sustainability and Environment at ONS.
Every year, the research program routinely asks a sample of the population to rate the quality of their lives using a 10-point scale. The participants are also asked to answer four questions that inquired about their overall levels of satisfaction in their lives; if they think what they do with their lives are worthwhile and their levels of anxiety and happiness the previous day.
Three years ago, women's average happiness level was 7.34 out of 10 compared to the 7.27 out of 10 among men. But in 2016, despite both sexes showing they are marginally happier, the average happiness rating for women was 7.49 compared with 7.46 among men. According to the ONS, the difference in points was no longer significant, statistically.
"Women have traditionally been happier than men but the female patients I see tend to exhibit more anxiety as they face the pressure of combining work with children and caring for elderly parents," said Dr. Niall Campbell, who is a consultant psychiatrist at the Roehampton-based Priory's Hospital.
Campbell added that while workplace equality is a "very good thing," it also left many women to face the more negative sides of corporate life. These include higher stress levels, high alcohol intake, unhealthy diets and lesser time to man the household and raise a family. Moreover, many women struggle with several physical insecurities in a society obsessed with youth and social media.
Campbell highlighted that men have outside interests that are able to provide an emotional diversion such as playing sports or watching one. Moreover, men worry less about their body shape, appearance and how others see them. He added that men are also, in general, more optimistic about their future and employment prospects.