NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation)—Men in the world’s most patriarchal societies have higher mortality rates than those living in places with greater gender equality and have a better chance of living longer in societies where women are equal to men, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.
Men in the top 25 percent most patriarchal societies were 31 percent more likely to die than men in the lowest patriarchal quartile compared to mortality rates for women, according to the study, which apparently is one of the few to examine the health effects of patriarchy on men.
“Gender inequality is inherently related to inequality in general, and this is bad for both men and women’s health, though especially harmful to men in increasing the risk of death,” said Daniel Kruger, the University of Michigan School of Public Health researcher who led the study.
Using data from the World Health Organization, the researchers found that men in the most patriarchal societies were 20 percent more likely to die of internal causes, including disease, than those in the least patriarchal societies and more than twice as likely to die from behavioral causes, such as accidents and homicides.
Researchers noted that “In their quest for social dominance, men will go up against other men to gain power and engage in forms of competitive, and sometimes dangerous, behavior.” They also pointed out that in societies where men are more socially dominant, they tend to engage in riskier behaviours that can lead to death.
The study appears in the current issue of Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, a publication of the American Psychological Association.