In the latest from Muse by Clio, AREA 23’s Director of Strategic Planning Katie Stack explores the social, cultural and economic factors that could help women live longer and healthier.
She connects the saying “women get sicker, but men die quicker” to her own personal experience, sharing that she observed women in her family outliving the men, albeit plagued by disease, pain and disability.
“What makes this enigma even more perplexing is that women are more likely to utilize healthcare, including preventative services,” Katie said. “Unfortunately, since the 1920s, our society has largely focused on the latter part of the paradox: trying to expand the life expectancy of men versus addressing women's morbidity.”
She notes that “women's bodies are remarkable and resilient and have built-in protective qualities,” stressing that several of the social determinants holding women back can be addressed. For starters, she said we must invest in women’s health in order to be equipped to better detect and treat diseases. And, by taking women’s pain seriously, diseases can be diagnosed quicker.
Since income impacts access to healthcare, Katie said “if we start paying women their fair share, then they may have a shot at living healthier lives.” She also emphasized that reducing stress and promoting mental health among women, who are often overburdened, can enhance their overall quality of life.