Yes, men naturally have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass when compared to women. The fact that men average 72.6 pounds of muscle compared to the 46.2 found in women means we will keep asking you for help to open jars when the need arises. But, a recent study using more complex determiners of strength clearly demonstrates women are superior survivors.
Turns out all that muscle mass doesn’t do much good when you’re dead, bros. Boom!
In a study of seven periods of history during which disasters led to the deaths of large swaths of the population, scientists at the University of Southern Denmark discovered time and time again that women were more likely than men to survive.
We all know that women are the supreme reigning life expectancy champs in almost every country in the world (although chubby dads in the US live a pretty long time). Across demographics, we consistently live longer, allowing us to spend inheritances on pool boys rather than our ungrateful children.
Using that foundation, researchers looked into tragic historical periods to see if this trend remains intact when horrific situations increase death rates dramatically. Are women just living longer because life is so cushy for the modern human? Nope.
During seven time periods marked by high-mortality populations, scientists examined deaths by disease, starvation, and violence. These included the Swedish famine of 1772-1773, life expectancy of slaves in Trinidad in 1813, survival rates of freed slaves from the US settling in Liberia between 1820 and 1843, the 1845 Irish potato famine, the deadly measles epidemics in Iceland in 1842 and 1882, and the 1933 Ukraine famine.
Using birth and death records, that calculated whether men or women lived longer. Though life expectancy of both sexes diminished considerably (duh), women still had lower mortality across almost all ages, and, aside from a single slave population, they lived longer on average than their male counterparts.
The authors hypothesize the survival rate of young adult male Trinidadian slaves exceeded that of young women because they held a higher economic value, placing a premium on their lives.
According to the lead author of the study, Dr. Virginia Zarulli: “Most of the female advantage was due to differences in mortality among infants. It is striking that during epidemics and famines as harsh as those analyzed here, newborn girls still survived better than newborn boys.”
This is kind of cool news, but the downside is that you have to go through famine and slavery to really put this shit in action. “Hey, women, we know you get paid less, but you get to better survive the worst period in history!”