The Much Stronger Sex, According To Science

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We were built to carry and then push out humans from our bodies; of course, women are the stronger sex! But, for everyone that has doubted us and is still wondering which gender is stronger, science officially says women are. So there.

Women can do it all: work, take care of the home and raise the kids to be decent people. Sure, we can’t always get the lid off the jar of pickles, and we might need help changing a tire now and then, but we ladies are pretty darn strong.

According to Steven Austad, who serves as the chair of the Biology Department at the University of Alabama, “Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men.”

Women are the much stronger sex, according to science.

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While it’s common knowledge that women tend to outlive men, this phenomenon hasn’t seen enough research, which is why Austad has been devoting more than two decades of study to the topic. Looking through international records dating back to the very first that was kept, women have been outliving men for 5 to 6 years.

Okay, so while we ladies tend to live longer, society and even ourselves don’t usually view us as stronger. Mentally, yes. I think that I can handle a lot more than a man. Honestly, just dealing with the emotional sh*t storm that comes along with my period every month has been enough to turn me into a champion. If my boyfriend had to deal with a hormonal roller coaster 12 times a year, I don’t think he could handle it.

However, Austad says that it’s not only emotional, mental, and intellectual strength that women have, but physical strength as well. According to his research, it’s the women who may hold the key to longer lives.

The Gerontology Research Group has a global tally of the oldest living people in the world. Currently, there are 43 known people who are living past the age of 110 years old. And out of that impressive 43, all but one of them are women.

The oldest known woman on earth, Violet Brown, was 117 years old when she died. She lived in Jamaica, used to work on a plantation, and said that she loved to eat mutton and fish. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many clues that give insight into why she had such a long life.

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Joy Lawn, the director of the Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, and Child Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says, “When we were there on the neonatal unit and a boy came out, you were taught that, statistically, the boy is more likely to die.”

When looking at childbirth on a global scale, the statistics say that about one million babies die at birth every year. Even if the baby boys and girls are given the same exact care at birth, the boys still have a 10 percent higher risk of dying than females.

It’s still unclear why this is so. In 2014, scientists at the University of Adelaide published research that suggested a mother’s placenta acts differently depending on the sex of the baby. According to them, it may be that females are getting extra love and care in the womb, even though they haven’t figured out why.

Kathryn Sandberg, director of the Centre for the Study of Sex Differences in Health, Ageing, and Disease at Georgetown University, said, “Cardiovascular disease occurs much earlier in men than women. The age of onset of hypertension [high blood pressure] also occurs much earlier in men than women. And there’s a sex difference in the rate of progression of the disease.”

When looking at research from 2010, Austad found that women were fighting off top illnesses much better than men. Twelve out of the fifteen most common causes of death were killing women at much lower rates than men.

Women were less likely to die from cancer and heart disease than men, but their risk for Parkinson’s and stroke remained equal. And they were more likely to die from Alzheimer’s.

“Once I started investigating, I found that women had resistance to almost all the major causes of death,” said Austad.

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It seems that women are also more equipped to fight off infections, even like the common cold or flu. Researchers believe it has something to do with the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which could help boost the immune system in an effort to protect children in the womb.

“If you look across all the different types of infections, women have a more robust immune response,” adds Sandberg. “If there’s a really bad infection, they survive better. If it’s about the duration of the infection, women will respond faster.”

Austad admits that there may be some nurture factors as to why women live longer. These may have to do with behavior differences in genders. Women tend to seek medical attention sooner, and men tend to have more dangerous jobs and eat unhealthier diets.

Others believe that it may be evolution that caused women to be stronger. With the same responsibilities to hunt and gather as men, women also had to bear the burden of carrying and giving birth to children.

While men may think they have the answer to which gender is stronger, evolution doesn't lie. And however it is that women got to be so strong — whether it came to us at birth, or we learned it over time — it turns out that women really DO run the world. And we take a lot fewer water breaks than the guys.

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Shannon Ullman is a writer who focuses on travel and adventure, women's health, pop culture, and relationships. Her work has appeared in Huffington Post, MSN, and Matador Network.