Yes, we’ve been saying this for over two thousand years already but it seems there might now be science to back it up: feminism is the answer...to a longer male life expectancy.
For a long time, socio-economic conditions such as education, wealth and career have been used to predict life expectancy (more accurately than genes or quality of health care).
Throughout the last century, statistics have shown that women in the western world generally live longer than men. But if we go back 120 years, men outlived women because of high mortality during childbirth.
So what has changed other than an improvement in medical care?
A new study by professors at Stanford University, published on economics analysis website voxeu.org, has revealed that men are more sensitive to financial adversity than women and even less likely to survive during inclement times. Women (as if we needed science to tell us) seem to be more ‘resilient.’
The study concludes that: ‘women have a superior built-in mechanism for adaptation to adverse conditions (from a survival perspective).’
But the most interesting discovery from the study (although the authors caveat it with a lack of evidence at this early stage) is that in countries with greater gender equality, the mortality gap between men and women narrows dramatically.
Here is the evidence: in the US state of Alaska, one of the top 10 richest and best-educated states, working habits between the genders is very imbalanced and the male survival rate is low. The mortality gap between the sexes is the highest in America.
The same pattern applies to other developed countries with gender imbalance (where men work and women stay at home) such as Korea and Japan, which are wealthy countries with good education but the differences in occupation between the sexes remains high. These countries have ‘a very low gender equity score relative to other rich countries’ and again, men are dying, on average, at a much younger age than women.
When compared with Western Europe and America, which have seen a steady reduction of the gender gap and a ‘rapid expansion of women’s occupational and social opportunities’ since the 1970s (Second Wave Feminists, we salute you), the mortality gap narrows.
Although the scientists are keen to note that ‘these were not the only changes in our society during this period’ and that other factors may have contributed to the narrowing mortality gap, based on their findings they have said the stats: 'just may prove true that removing the hurdles for women in a male society hasn’t turned out so badly for men after all.’
So, basically, by breaking through the glass ceiling we are helping men to live longer. What's not to love; it’s a win-win situation.
Check out our list of male feminists who prove that the battle for gender equality is best fought by men and women.