In this fascinating study, women are proven to be the stronger sex.
It’s a well-known fact that women outlive men. Look at the statistics for any country and women live longer. This is generally put down to the riskier behaviour men are more likely to indulge in. Doctor and scientist Sharon Moalem says this is not the case. Even when comparing nun and monks living in cloistered circumstances, with little to no environmental risks, it’s the nuns who live longer. What can be going on?
According to Dr Moalem, it’s all in the chromosomes. Men have XY chromosomes, whereas women have XX chromosomes. Having the two X chromosomes gives women greater immunity to disease. Moalem writes, “…the genetic advantage that women possess results from every cell within a female having the option of using one of their two X chromosomes, each of which contains around a thousand genes.” Not only that, women have greater resilience, stamina, cognitive advantages and even better visual sensitivity.
The Better Half draws on much of the author’s professional research and scientific interests. Compelling case histories are used throughout the text to show how women have the genetic advantage over men in fighting disease and physical adversity. This is popular science at its best: lively, always interesting and a pleasure to read.
The Better Half: On the Genetic Superiority of Women, by Sharon Moalem. Allen Lane. $29.99
Review by Chris Saliba
North Melbourne Books