Women are stronger than men, more likely to survive life threatening crisis

While women are more determined men give up when things get tough

Women may have the reputation of being the fairer sex, but when it comes to life expectancy, we are also the stronger.

So, the former first lady would most certainly have approved of a new study which suggests women, far from being the weaker sex, are much more likely to survive a life-threatening crisis.

But what about in times of crisis?

But to see if this holds true when death rates are "extraordinarily high", researchers compared the survival rates of males and females in the most "horrific" situations. Think starvation, disease outbreak, and slavery.

Known as "high-mortality populations", researchers looked at seven time periods when human lives were wiped out by starvation, disease and violence.

In the Irish potato starvation, a type of mould Phytophora infestans caused crop failures over three years - and life expectancy shrank from 38 years for both sexes, to 18.7 years for men and 22.4 years for women.

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The data covered seven populations in which people of both sexes had a hard time in 20 years or less, including starvation victims in Sweden, Ireland and Ukraine in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. However, researchers believe this is because male slaves were worth more, so traders had more of an incentive to keep them alive.

In Iceland, life expectancy dropped from 35.35 years to 17.86 for males, and from 40.81 years to 18.82 for females. Yet, in all other age groups, including infancy, women outlived men.

"Among them were working and former slaves in Trinidad and the United States in the early 1800s, starvation victims in Sweden, Ireland and Ukraine in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and Icelanders affected by the 1846 and 1882 measles epidemics", Duke University mentioned in their report. Overall, 43 percent of ex-slaves who were encouraged by the USA government to migrate to Liberia died within their first year in Africa because their immune systems were exposed to new diseases.

Traditionally, women's higher life expectancy is the result of a healthier and less violent lifestyle.

Meanwhile, studies have shown testosterone fuels a man's competitive nature, driving him to be more reckless. Life expectancy at birth was just 1.68 years for boys and 2.23 years for girls. But as lifestyle differences shrink, the gender gap persists, strengthening the case for a biological explanation.

And biological differences between the sexes, could also help explain why women are more resilient, the scientists said.

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