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Is patriarchy the source of men’s higher mortality?
  1. D Stanistreet1,
  2. C Bambra2,
  3. A Scott-Samuel1
  1. 1Division of Public Health, University of Liverpool, UK
  2. 2Centre of Health and Public Policy, Wolfson Institute, University of Durham, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D Stanistreet
 Division of Public Health, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, The Quadrangle, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK;


Objective: To examine the relation between levels of patriarchy and male health by comparing female homicide rates with male mortality within countries.

Hypothesis: High levels of patriarchy in a society are associated with increased mortality among men.

Design: Cross sectional ecological study design.

Setting: 51 countries from four continents were represented in the data—America, Europe, Australasia, and Asia. No data were available for Africa.

Results: A multivariate stepwise linear regression model was used. Main outcome measure was age standardised male mortality rates for 51 countries for the year 1995. Age standardised female homicide rates and GDP per capita ranking were the explanatory variables in the model. Results were also adjusted for the effects of general rates of homicide. Age standardised female homicide rates and ranking of GDP were strongly correlated with age standardised male mortality rates (Pearson’s r = 0.699 and Spearman’s 0.744 respectively) and both correlations achieved significance (p<0.005). Both factors were subsequently included in the stepwise regression model. Female homicide rates explained 48.8% of the variance in male mortality, and GDP a further 13.6% showing that the higher the rate of female homicide, and hence the greater the indicator of patriarchy, the higher is the rate of mortality among men.

Conclusion: These data suggest that oppression and exploitation harm the oppressors as well as those they oppress, and that men’s higher mortality is a preventable social condition, which could be tackled through global social policy measures.

  • patriarchy
  • male mortality
  • female homicide
  • patriarchy indicators
  • health inequalities

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  • Funding: none.

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

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