3.7. LE = life expectancy

According to the World Health Organization, women outlive men in every country in the world. Why is that, when women face a wider variety of stressors, are more likely to be victims of sexual violence, and experience more chronic diseases, depression and anxiety? In addition, women today (for less pay) share the same financial pressures, long hours at the office, and potentially unhealthy diet and habits (drinking and smoking) as men. Some scientists attempt to explain the 3-7 year difference between male and female life expectancy with biology.
In general, women experience chronic diseases like cardiovascular issues and diabetes later in life than men, and with less severe complications. Hormones may be partially responsible for this difference. Estrogen lowers harmful cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. Testosterone does the exact opposite for men, increasing their risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Once diagnosed with chronic diseases, women also score higher than men on health management and compliance.

Looking at the big picture, men on average are taller and have more cells in their bodies; the more cells that exist, the higher the likelihood for harmful/cancerous mutations. Bigger bodies also require more energy and produce more waste, adding more wear and tear to the body (e.g. the heart has to work harder to pump blood through a 6'6" body than a 5'1" one.) 

Differences in behavioral patterns concerning drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and suicide also leave men with shorter life spans. Statistically, men drink more, smoke more, and do more drugs. Women attempt suicide in greater numbers, but men are more likely to succeed.

A woman may live 3-7 years longer than a man, but on the other hand, she probably spends at least 3-7 more years doing housework, mental labor, free labor, and childcare. Quality of life makes a difference across a eighty year life span.

There's still much to do to improve women's lives--workplace equality, safety, respect, basic human rights, mental health, and so much more. Living longer is good, but living well matters also.


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