Periods might be a big downside of being a woman, but life makes up for it by giving females more years on Earth than men.
An average of 10 extra years in industrialized nations is nothing to scoff at. National Geographic shares some ideas about how this happens, including that men are more likely to drink and smoke, so their lifestyle is more likely to cut their lives short. Genetically, they also produce more testosterone, which could contribute to heart disease, among other medical conditions.
There’s also a Darwinian angle: “For many humans and animals in the wild, females typically play a more involved role in childrearing,” National Geographic video host Angeli Gabriel says. “Because of this, a super-long lifespan for males isn’t as necessary from an evolutionary perspective.”
The gender gap in longevity might be closing, however, according to a recent study that predicted lifespans for people born in 2030 or turning 65 in that year. It also listed South Korea as the most ideal nation for long life, estimating that boys born there in 2030 might live to 84 years old, while women may reach almost 91 years old.