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Gender Equality and the Global Gender Gap in Life Expectancy: An Exploratory Analysis of 152 Countries

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  • José Tomás Mateos
  • José Fernández-Sáez
  • Jorge Marcos-Marcos
  • Carlos Álvarez-Dardet
  • Clare Bambra
  • Jennie Popay
  • Kedar Baral
  • Connie Musolino
  • Fran Baum
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Health Policy and Management
Issue number6
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)740-746
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date14/10/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When looking at life expectancy (LE) by sex, women live longer than men in all countries. Biological factors alone do not explain gender differences in LE, and examining structural differences may help illuminate other explanatory factors. The aim of this research is to analyse the influence of gender inequality on the gender gap in LE globally. We have carried out a regression analysis between the gender gap in relativised LE and the UN Gender Inequality Index (GII), with a sensitivity analysis conducted for its three dimensions, stratified by the six World Health Organization (WHO) regions. We adjusted the model by taking into consideration gross national income (GNI), democratic status and rural population. The results indicated a positive association for the European region (ß=0.184) and the Americas (ß=0.136) in our adjusted model. Conversely, for the African region, the relations between gender equality and the LE gender gap were found to be negative (ß=-0.125). The findings suggest that in the WHO European region and the Americas, greater gender equality leads to a narrowing of the gender LE gap, while it has a contrary relationship in Africa. We suggest that this could be because only higher scores in the GII between men and women show health benefits.

Bibliographic note

© 2020 The Author(s); Published by Kerman University of Medical Sciences. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.