I recall that in my first management position, in the early 1980s, the Head of Personnel would wince as she reported the previous month’s sickness statistics for people working at the plant (Beecham Toiletries, Maidenhead). Month after month, across all age groups, and whether they had children or not, the average female employee took off markedly more days for ‘sickness’ than the average male employee. Maybe it’s simply another reflection of Dr Catherine Hakim’s Preference Theory – compared with women, four times as many men are work-centred. And of course more women than men can rely on being financially supported by a partner.
My thanks to Chloe for this.