Why Women Live Longer Than Men

If some new research is to be believed, women, scientifically, outlive men by five to six years. Sorry boys, the game’s over! So, read on to find out why women are the real winners!

Vidya Subramanian
LatestWritten by: Vidya SubramanianPublished at: Feb 01, 2013
Why Women Live Longer Than Men

omenIt may be time to declare the winner of the gender wars. After all, he (or in this case, she) who survives longest must be the winner, right? So, then, it’s done. Ladies, take a bow. If some new research is to be believed, women, scientifically, live longer than men. Sorry boys. The game’s over.

According to a report published in the Scientific American, women usually tend to outlive their male counterparts. Authored by Dr. Thomas Kirkwood, Director of the Institute for Ageing and Health at Newcastle University in England and the author of Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Aging, the report establishes why biologically women tend to live longer. “The average man may run a 100-meter race faster than the average woman and lift heavier weights. But nowadays women outlive men by about five to six years. By age 85 there are roughly six women to every four men. At age 100 the ratio is more than two to one. And by age 122—the current world record for human longevity—the score stands at one-nil in favour of women,” says he in the report.

The research is not just based on a study or survey of humans. By studying it in a wider biological perspective, Dr, Kirkwood found that even in other animals, the females outlived the males. His theory, somewhat controversial in its claims, is that men are in some ways more “disposable” than women. He says, “In humans, as in most animal species, the state of the female body is very important for the success of reproduction. The fetus needs to grow inside the mother’s womb, and the infant needs to suckle at her breast. So, if the female animal’s body is too much weakened by damage, there is a real threat to her chances of making healthy offspring. The man’s reproductive role, on the other hand, is less directly dependent on his continued good health.”

He claims to have found evidence from studies in rodents that cells in a female body repair their damage better than in the body of a male, and that surgical removal of the ovaries eliminates this difference. As many dog and cat owners can attest, neutered male animals often live longer than their intact counterparts.


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