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Survey: Indian women world's most stressed

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 29 Jun 2011 00:34 GMT
Author: Elaine Lies
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By Elaine Lies

TOKYO, June 28 (Reuters Life!) - Women around the world feel stressed and pressed for time, but women in emerging markets are more stressed than their sisters in developed nations -- and Indian women say they are the most stressed of all, according to a survey published on Tuesday.

But while women in emerging markets may be under more pressure, they are also far more hopeful, with most seeing more financial stability and better chances for education for their daughters, according to the survey of 21 developed and emerging nations by global information and analytics firm Nielsen.

An overwhelming 87 percent of Indian women said they felt stressed most of the time, and 82 percent had no time to relax.

Despite being stressed, though, Indian women were also the most likely to spend any extra cash they might happen to have on themselves over the next five years.

Nearly all, 96 percent, anticipated buying clothes, while 77 percent said they would splash out on health and beauty products and 44 percent on home electronics.

"Women across the globe are achieving higher levels of education, joining the workforce in greater numbers and contributing more to the household income," said Susan Whiting, vice chair at Nielsen, in a statement.

"Women tell Nielsen they feel empowered to reach their goals and get what they want, but at the same time, this level of empowerment results in added stress."

Mexican women came in second in terms of stress and lack of time, with 74 percent, followed by Russia with 69 percent, which the survey blamed partly on the intense pace of social change, with what took half a century to evolve in developed countries compressed into five for their emerging cousins.

The highest stress levels in developed countries were Spain with 66 percent and France with 65 percent. Some 53 percent of U.S. women said they were stressed.

MORE STRESS, BUT MORE HOPE

Women in general felt they had more opportunities than their mothers no matter where they were living.

But women in emerging markets believed their daughters will have more chances than they did, while those in developed nations said their girls will only have the same opportunites, not more.

In emerging markets, 80 percent of women surveyed believe their daughters will have greater financial stability and 83 percent believe they will have more educational opportunity.

Only 40 percent of women in developed nations saw their daughters having more financial stability, and only 54 percent forecast more educational chances.

"The difference in perceptions is ... reflective of the belief that women in developed countries have achieved a certain level of attainment and success," said Whiting.

"While women in emerging markets see tremendous growth in the opportunities for their daughters, a plateau of hope is evident in developed countries."

The most optimistic women were in Turkey, an overwhelming 92 percent of whom thought their daughters would have more opportunities than they did, followed by 89 percent of Nigerians and Malaysians.

Only half of U.S. women thought the same.

No matter where they were, though, women were more keyed into social networking than men, talking 28 percent more and texting 14 percent more every month. They also visited more Internet community sites.

More than half of women in both developed and emerging nations said that computers, mobile phones and smart phones had changed their lives for the better.

"To connect with women, strategies should be social and relevant," said Whiting, noting that social networking meant women followed brands more than men.

"Women are much more likely to engage with media that seamlessly integrates into and improves their day-to-day lives."

The survey was conducted from February to April and covered nearly 6,500 women in Turkey, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, China, Thailand, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Japan, Australia and South Korea. (Reporting by Elaine Lies; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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