Life expectancy at birth is an estimate of the number of years that a newborn baby will live – based on current age-specific death rates – and is used as a measure of health status. Women have a longer life expectancy at birth than men in nearly every country. This gender gap in longevity is influenced by both biological and sociocultural factors, but very little research has tried to integrate these different perspectives. The dramatic variation in gender differences in life expectancy across the world illustrates how the biological vulnerability of males interacts with the ways that men and women are treated in different societies. Social and cultural explanations for the gender gap in life expectancy draw on men's and women's social roles, health behaviors such as smoking and drinking alcohol, and traditional notions of “masculinity.” Researchers have commented on the supposed “paradox” of women living longer but having worse health than men (“women are sicker, but men die quicker”). However, this observation has been found to be simplistic; research which compares men and women in similar situations has found that gender differences in physical ill-health are either inconsistent or relatively small.
|Title of host publication||The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society|
|Editors||W.C. Cockerham, R. Dingwall , S.R. Quah|
|Publisher||John Wiley & Sons|
|Number of pages||4|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Feb 2014|
- life expectancy