Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark have found that women are historically more likely to survive near-death situations.
The scientists used the Irish Famine to examine life expectancy, and uncovered the likelihood of females prevailing over males.
The Irish Potato Famine of 1845-49 resulted in over one million deaths and saw a further two million people leave the island amid devastating hunger.
A statue by Rowan Gillespie on Ireland's Liffey Quay.
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Before the period, Irish men and women had an average life expectancy of 38 years. During the height of the Famine, life expectancy for men dropped to 18.17 years.
Women, however, were still given a significantly higher life expectancy of 22.4 years as hunger ravaged the country.
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It’s not only Irish women who showed this kind of strength in the face of adversity. The scientists studied eight different instances of famines and deadly disease outbreaks and found females to be the overwhelmingly stronger sex in such life threatening situations.
Females in the Swedish Famine of 1772-73 were also found to outlive their male counterparts.
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The scientists similarly looked to harrowing events such as the Ukrainian Holodomor Famine in the 1930s, and two different outbreaks of measles in Iceland during the 1800s. In all occurrences, women seemed to survive longer.
In her findings, lead scientist Dr Virginia Zarulli determined that women live longer than men almost everywhere.
“Finding that women have longer life expectancy under harsh conditions would support the hypothesis that the female survival advantage is biologically determined," she wrote.
In general, women live longer than men in most parts of the world today.
At present, an Irish woman is expected to live until 83.2 years of age, while male life expectancy is 78.7.