Sunday, January 15, 2006

gender gap

The "gender gap" is the gap between the life expectancies of males and females. Currently women are expected to live 7.1 years longer than men. Many theories have been proposed as possible explanations of why women live longer. However, experts agree on four major areas of male-female differences: hormones, genetic makeup, natural immunity, and behavior. The female hormone estrogen gives women an advantage over men as far as heart disease goes. Women usually develop heart disease 10 years after men because of the presence of estrogen. Many personality characteristics, determined partly by genetic makeup, partly by hormones and partly by socialization, causes different behaviors in men and women. Men drink more, smoke more, and more often expose themselves to risks at work and play, thereby increasing their chances of death. Some researchers believe the "gender gap" is slowly closing because women today expose themselves to the stresses of work, smoke, and have adopted many behaviors typical of men.
"Closing the Gap," AARP News Bulletin. 28: 8-9 (1987).

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