Study on working women shows they have a sharper memory later in life

Study on working women shows they have a sharper memory later in life
Image source: Sergey Nivens via

A study on working women shows they have a sharper memory later in life, justifying the link between work and memory.

After observing nearly 6,200 U.S. women aged 55 and older, researchers found that thsoe who had worked for pay in young adulthood and middle-age were far from having a memory decline, compared to those who stayed out of the labor force.

Experts said the findings do not suggest that paid work leads to the preservation of brain health. However, they believe the work-memory link is essential. Other studies showed that both mental and social stimulation may help people avoid memory loss as they grow older.

“My interpretation is that participation in the labor force is a surrogate for those other things,” said Dr. Thomas Vidic, a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, who was not involved in the study.

For Vidic, the study presents “one more piece of data” that being mentally and socially engaged has benefits for the brain later in life.


Erika Sabbath, one of the researchers on the study, echoed the same reasons.

“I think there are a lot of cognitive benefits from working,” said Sabbath, an associate professor at Boston College School of Social Work.

Work covers everything from mentally challenging tasks to maintaining relationships with other people, she noted, and these can benefit the brain.

“With work, we often think of the health hazards there can be,” Sabbath said. “But this study highlights the possible health benefits.”

The study, published online Nov. 4 in Neurology, asked 6,189 women aged 55 and up who took memory tests every two years. On average, they were observed for 12 years.

Pay gap, mansplaining

However, women constantly face negative experiences at work.

Another study on working women showed that the gender pay gap forces women to work for free for two months a year.

The analysis released by the Trades Union Congress in March 2019 reveals that women work an average of 63 unpaid days. The gap is currently at 17.3% for all employees. TUC suggests that women in various sectors will need to wait significantly longer for their “women’s payday.”

“Our economy is stacked against working women. At this rate, it will take another 50 years to close the gender pay gap,” said Frances O’Grady, TUC’s general secretary. “No more excuses: the government must get on and sort the gender pay gap now.”

The TUC analysis of the Office for National Statistics’ annual survey for hours and earnings states that the average woman in education works for free for more than a quarter of the year or 93 days before she gets paid on 2 April.

The gender pay gap in the education sector is at 25.4%, and education roles are dominated by women. Meanwhile, the average woman in the professional, scientific and technical fields waits 88 days with her payday happening on 28 March 2020.

A study held by OnePoll for Self analyzed the modern workforce and what women go through in the workplace.

Findings showed that three in five women believe that men are not aware they are explaining information women already knew.

A survey of 2,000 employed women revealed that two in five women have heard comments from their male colleagues that they “come on too strong.”

Responses also disclosed that three in four women admit they are underpaid and deserve more compensation in their current position.