Confronting Disparities for the Sake of Health

Often when we are speaking about or discussing gender and equal opportunities we are unconsciously talking about women and men who are middle-age or younger, white, and middle-class with some kind of higher education. My own unconscious framing of this issue was recently challenged by a Swedish government report on women’s experience of workplace environments.

Around the globe women have a disproportionately high absence rate because of sickness and ill health.

Why is that? Why is this disparity happening along the lines of gender?

I wondered if the answer might be that women have more repetitive tasks, heavier manual handling, and mentally more demanding work with people. I wondered if men might have more varied tasks and machines, tools, trucks and more freedom to walk around and socialize.

Well, I don’t have to wonder anymore.

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