Fighting gender-based harassment and its impact on mental health

Fighting gender-based harassment and its impact on mental health

Discrimination based on gender has a profound impact on mental and physical health around the world. It has the potential to restrict or slow down people’s access to healthcare, raise rates of illness, and reduce life expectancy. As per the WHO report, individuals facing inequality have adverse effects on their health. Especially women who have been found at higher risks of bad health across their lifespan.

Survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are at a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and post- traumatic stress disorder, which can have a severe and life-long impact on their mental health. Children who have been exposed to violence and abuse are more likely to experience or perpetrate violence as adults. Women generally face more inequalities, and gender based harassment as compared to men, like less pay for similar job position, lower rates of literacy, low employment rates, domestic violence to name few are some of the common examples of gender based harassment.

Through this article, let us try to understand about what gender discrimination is, and how it contributes the mental and physical health.

Let us understand what is Gender discrimination?

Any action that excludes or disadvantages persons based on their gender is referred to as gender discrimination. It encompasses both purposeful and accidentally unfair actions. Sexism, or prejudice based on sex or gender, fuels gender discrimination. Sexism devalues women and femininity while elevating men and masculinity in most cultures.

Forms of Gender discrimination or gender based violence

Gender discrimination and violence can take place anywhere in any form. It can take various forms.

  • Physical: Physical violence is common in every part of the world. It causes injuries, stress, and health problems. Physical violence leaves great impact on the life of victim both mentally and physically.
  • Sexual: Sexual assault are the most common types of gender based harassment. This includes cases like Rape, Unwanted sexual touching, sexual contact without permission, sexual remarks are all included in the sexual form of discrimination. Marital rape is also considered as sexual discrimination.
  • Psychological: Another common form of discrimination is psychological that includes abusive remarks, racial comments, economic violence, and blackmail.

Examples and places of gender discrimination

Gender discrimination can take place anywhere in any form. It can take place in person-to-person interactions, or at an institutional or state level

  • At the workplace: Gender discrimination can take place in the form of not hiring or giving them a chance for promotion. Paying them less on the basis of their gender is also a type of gender based discrimination at the workplace.
  • Schools and other institutional area: Unfortunately, schools and other institutional area are also contributing in the rise of gender based discrimination. Females are often not promoted to take part in male-dominated fields, subjects are even decided on the basis of gender. Maths is for boys and Social studies for girls. Dress codes are also assigned as per the gender in some schools.
  • On personal front and relationships: Girls are forced to remain in house, are prevented to go out of home for work, men are given power to take all the financial decisions of the home, etc

Effects of gender-based discrimination on mental health

Gender discrimination is a cause of stress, and it can have a direct impact on mental health, just like any other stressor. Discrimination can cause anxiety and psychological trauma depending on the circumstances. Women are more likely than men to suffer from a variety of mental illnesses, including:

  • As per the trusted source, depression is twice as common in women as it is in men
  • Anxiety
  • Post- traumatic stress disorder
  • Eating disorders

How gender discrimination affects physical health

  • Chronic Illness

     Stress can lead to chronic illness such as chronic pain in any part of the body, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other serious health-related problems.

  • Decreased focus on physical health and less healthy living pattern

An individual facing gender discrimination has been found to be less attentive towards their health and they usually get detached with the necessary things required to survive.

They tend to pay less attention to their health and lead a less healthy life.

  • Suicidal attempts or feeling: Women facing gender discrimination, often cause injury on their body parts or tempts to suicide. Suicidal attempts can cause serious injuries as well as psychological effect on mind.


Gender discrimination has far-reaching consequences. Discrimination has a negative impact on mental and physical health, contributes to poverty, perpetuates cycles of abuse and violence, and limits access to healthcare.

Gender-based discrimination not only affects the social status of the victim but also they get affected them mentally. In most cases such people feel isolated from the rest of the society, sense of inferiority, as well as other tendencies leading to suicidal thoughts and attempts, appear in their minds.

This can be controlled by learning about its roots, manifestations, and effects, as well as taking action to eradicate it. To stop discrimination, we need to spread awareness not as a person but as a group of persons, or in simple terms only masses can help stop discrimination.

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