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It’s not the men who are doctor-shy: One in two female CFOs can’t remember their last doctor visit

/ Nov 15, 2012 8:36AM / Print / ()

It’s not the men who are doctor-shy: One in two female CFOs ...

Numerous studies have found the richer you are, especially relative to your peers, the more likely you are to be healthy. Even in Australia, where everyone has access to Medicare, the rich tend to eat, sleep and exercise better, and to go to the doctor far more regularly.

But this doesn't hold constant in all situations, a study by Australian researchers East & Partners has found.

The banking consultancy surveyed 400 Australian chief financial officers (CFOs), and found 77% had been to see their doctor often in the past 12 months.

But divide the responses up by gender, and it gets interesting.

Only one in two, or 44%, of female CFOs said they had visited a doctor or specialist in the past year. This contrasts with 74.5% of male CFOs who'd been to see a doctor. Another 43.2% of female CFOs couldn't even remember the last time they'd been to see the doctor, choosing this instead of the 'two years or longer' answer.

In looking at these figures, it's worth noting that female CFOs are far from the norm. The CFO role is one of the most gender-biased in the C-suite. The average CFO is a 42-year-old man, according to Ernst & Young.

For high-achieving women, this finding suggests seeing the doctor from time to time isn't a priority.

"The research runs contrary to public perceptions about men being reluctant to visit doctors," commented Lachlan Colquhoun, East & Partners' head of market analysis.

The CFOs were also asked about the seriousness of their visit. If we go by this analysis, the men are in worse shape than the women. If one was very severe need to see the doctor and five was not serious at all, the average male response was 1.69 (so, in severe pain), while for women, it was 2.49 (moderate pain).

However, perhaps it's worth taking this last measure with a pinch of salt. It's my admittedly anecdotal experience that men have a lower tolerance for pain and discomfort.

When was the last time you went to see the doctor? Are executive women too busy to take care of themselves?

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