Women Are Getting Angrier. Is Anyone Surprised?

Women reported feeling angry more often than men who took part in the same global poll – but that’s hardly dumbfounding news.

Gallup World Poll – according to the BBC’s analysis – found there was a whopping 6% difference between the number of times women said they felt rage compared to men this year.

The poll surveys more than 120,000 people in more than 150 countries and asks what emotions they felt for the majority of the previous day.

Women scored higher than men in sadness, stress, worry and anger.

But, anger is a particularly interesting case, as it was only when it came to angry feelings that the statistics for men actually decreased compared to last year, unlike women.

In both 2020 and 2021, 26% of women reported feeling angry.

While in 2020, 23% of men reported feeling the same way, compared to just 20% this year.

And women’s level of fury has been gradually increasing since 2012, when 20% of both sexes reported feeling the fury.

The 6% gap between men and women in the latest findings is also the average – in some countries, the discrepancy is even more significant.

In Cambodia, there was an increase of 17% more women compared to men who felt angry, and 12% in India and Pakistan.

Is this a surprise? 

No, not according to these experts.

A US therapist Sarah Harmon told the BBC that she believes women are feeling an internal fury over recent years that the burden of the pandemic has fallen unfairly onto them.

And a 2020 poll from the Institute for Fiscal Studies surveying of almost 5,000 parents in England found mothers in heterosexual relationships took on the bulk of the domestic duties during lockdown. Many had to reduce their working hours as a result, even if they were the breadwinner of the family.

Psychiatrist Dr Laksmi Vijayakumar also claimed this increased anger was down to the tensions between higher levels of education, employment and economic independence among women and the old patriarchal systems still in place.

“The dissonance between a patriarchal system at home and an emancipated woman outside of home causes a lot of anger,” she said.

Data scientist at UN Women, Ginette Azcona, also found that the number of women in work around the world is estimated to be lower than in 2019 for 169 countries.

She said this is because the “segregated labour market” means burnout has been happening in female-dominated sectors, such as care.

And of course, the gender pay gap still exists.

On top of all this, there has been the widespread uncertainty affecting people all across the globe over the last few years, from the worldwide economic downturn and Covid pandemic, to the ongoing fight for civil rights.

Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement and the Woman, Life, Freedom, campaign in Iran are all efforts to bring about more equality in modern lives driven by anger.

Hollywood seems to be trying to reflect this more accurately too. For instance, actor Anya Taylor-Joy recently revealed how she wants to change the perception of “feminine rage”, and show women “get mad and angry”.


“that wasn’t in the script?” 😭 anya taylor-joy on her unscripted slap in ‘The Menu’ 🎬 #anyataylorjoy#nicholashoult#themenu#radio1

♬ original sound - BBC Radio 1

Should we be worried?

According to counselling psychologist Dr Chloe Paidoussis Mitchell, no.

“Anger is often an appropriate emotion and to feel it is a helpful thing that not only helps us survive but helps us thrive,” she told HuffPost UK back in 2020.

Despite this, Dr Paidoussis Mitchell says people in her clinic are often “afraid of anger – especially women”.

She continued: “Women often avoid expressing anger, because unconsciously they have been taught to fear it or see it as unfeminine and unseemly.

“Young women and girls are not allowed to experiment with their expression of anger in the same way as boys are.

“If they are angry, they are often labelled as mad, bitchy, nuts, psycho...”

But she said ignoring anger is risky, can affect your mental and physical health and trigger long-term issues like excessive drinking.

There is no exact framework, but Dr Paidoussis Mitchell said “expressing anger safely will prevent it from ballooning into rage”, which will help us all be more empathetic.