It’s not news that women trying to crack male-dominated industries have it particularly tough, but apparently being female in a team of guys could actually be making you physically sick.
By studying 440 women in the U.S, researchers at Indiana University discovered that females who work in male-dominated offices were more stressed as compared to those who worked in a gender-balanced environment.
It’s key to note that we’re not talking about female staffers feeling generally burnt out, either: The study found that women working in a space that was 85% or more male—also known as “token” women—had less healthy patterns of stress hormone cortisol, which puts female employees at a higher risk of things like depression and insomnia.
“Our findings are especially important because dysregulated cortisol profiles are associated with negative health outcomes,” researcher Cate Taylor said. “Thus, our project provides evidence that the negative workplace social climates encountered by women in male-dominated occupations may be linked to later negative health outcomes for these women.”
Pretty scary stuff, especially when you consider a huge number of industries—from tech to construction—that are still largely dominated by guys.