The Telegraph does not really seem to have a good explanation for it, but the phenomenon must be noted. Working long hours is bad for women’s health. Working long hours is good for men’s health.
The disparity is striking. It reminds us of an obvious point, often noted. The higher a man rises in a status hierarchy the more attractive he becomes to women. The higher a woman rises in the same status hierarchy—in business or in a profession—the less attractive she becomes to men.
One also notes that women who work long hours and who rise up the status hierarchy often have problems with fertility.
The Telegraph reports on the research, published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine:
Women who put in long hours in their careers greatly increase their risk of developing life-threatening illnesses, including heart disease and cancer, a new study has shown.
Work weeks that averaged 60 hours per week or more over three decades were found to triple the risk of diabetes, cancer, heart trouble and arthritis, according to new research from The Ohio State University.
The risk begins to climb when women put in more than 40 hours and takes a decidedly bad turn above 50 hours, researchers found.
Note the number: triple the risk!
As for men, the opposite seems to pertain:
Men who worked long hours had a higher incidence of arthritis, but none of the other chronic diseases.
Surprisingly, those men who worked moderately long hours, 41 to 50 hours weekly, had lower risk of heart disease, lung disease and depression than those who worked 40 hours or fewer.
Researchers believe that this difference occurs because women who work hard at their careers often have family and homemaking responsibilities that surpass those of men.
Without knowing more, we are inclined to doubt this interpretation. A woman who works 60 hours a week is unlikely to have a family in the first place and less likely to have a marriage. If she does and if she is successful, she will most likely have a staff taking care of home and family.
One suspects that the disparity is too great to be explained by home and family. Long hours undermine a woman’s health and enhance a man’s. One might study the effect of military service, especially combat, on the female body vs. its effect on the male body.
When feminists tell women that they are just like men, that gender differences are merely a social construct, they are encouraging women to adopt a lifestyle and a work schedule that is bad for their health. I repeat: "triple the risk."
It’s a thought for today.