No wonder there is something wonderful about being a woman. And now the scientific studies from Germany and Denmark have revealed that women have greater survival chances than men even in the times of crisis. Even under normal circumstances, women live longer than men.
The researchers studied about the historical life expectancies and found that on average women had a longer life expectancy while facing the crisis like epidemics and famines than men did.
In fact, as per the reports of the lead author Virginia Zarulli, an assistant professor at the Institute of Public Health at the University of Southern Denmark, women had a survival advantage even in the worst of conditions. The reasons for women being life-expectancy champions is not clear but when it comes to normal conditions, women have higher life expectancy rate because of biological, behavioral and environmental factors.
However, not much was known about the survival advantage of women over men under life-threatening conditions. So research was conducted to find out whether the reason behind women’s high life expectancy than men can be made clear by biological or environmental factors.
The researchers studied the historical data collected between 1772 and 1939 from seven different populations dealing with great hardships. The researchers specially analyzed the data on life expectancy and death rates from groups struggling with disease, slavery, and starvation and during times such as the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849), plantation slaves in Trinidad in the 19th century and measles epidemics in Iceland (1846 and 1882).
All the seven groups involved in the study showed a low life expectancy as a result of the extremely harsh conditions. Both the men and women were not expected to live longer than 20 years during these difficult times.
When all the seven crises were studied by the researchers, they found that women lived longer (six months to four years) than men during these crises. It was noticed that during such crises the major difference was seen in infant mortality. They found that baby girls survived life-threatening conditions better than baby boys. Although when it comes to normal conditions, baby boys had a higher life expectancy than baby girls. It was quite surprising to see this difference!
This shows that the reason for high life expectancy for girls might be fundamentally biological. The behavioral differences among infants (both boys and girls) are almost negligible at this age and infants experienced the same environmental conditions. So the only factor that can be responsible for the difference in life expectancy is biological.
Virginia Zarulli said that biological factors like genetics and hormones play an important role in high life expectancy. The female hormone estrogen is known to protect the immune system whereas testosterone, the male hormone suppresses the immune system.
According to science high testosterone level, males are more prone to reckless behaviour which in turn can result in the risk of accidental and violent deaths and that is one of the reasons for low life expectancy.
Biological reasons play a significant role in high life expectancy of women but the behaviour, culture, and society also play an important role too, said Zarulli.