Contact: Lawrence DeMarco, LLM

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Urgent Call to WHO and Member Governments to Address Longevity Crisis Affecting Men

May 27, 2024 — The International Council for Men and Boys (ICMB) today is issuing an urgent call to the World Health Organization and to member governments to address the alarming five-year lifespan gender gap between men and women, (1) The ICMB is urging groups to prioritize men’s health, recognizing the critical need for a sex-inclusive approach to healthcare policies and resource allocation.

This call is being issued in conjunction with the 77th Annual World Health Assembly that begins this week in Geneva (2), and in anticipation of the upcoming annual International Men’s Health Week. It aims to educate the public, promote early detection and prevention, and advocate for policies that support the well-being of men and boys, observed on June 10-16. (3)

Globally, the average life expectancy for men is 68.9 years, compared to 73.9 years for women. (1) The lifespan gender gap varies dramatically by country. In India, the lifespan gap is 3.1 years, while in Russia, the disparity is a distressing 10.0 years, according to the OECD. (4) These gaps are caused by a number of factors, including:

Organizational Bias: One analysis of reports published by the World Health Organization revealed that “women’s health” was cited far more often than “men’s health.” (5)

Sex-Specific Health Offices: Many countries sponsor an office of women’s health, but no office of men’s health. The United States currently has eight federal offices of women’s health and no offices of men’s health. (6)

Healthcare Utilization: Women’s visits to medical practitioners, home medical visits, and number of medications outnumber those of men. (7)

A recent study published in the Lancet highlights that men are more susceptible to conditions that lead to premature death, such as cardiovascular diseases, COVID-19, and respiratory and liver diseases. In contrast, non-fatal conditions such as musculoskeletal disorders and mental health conditions disproportionately affect women.  (8) Analyses reveal that women have always been included in medical research in numbers approximately equal to their disease burden. (9, 10, 11)

These lifespan disparities serve as a stark reminder of the need to address the unique health challenges faced by men and boys. The ICMB emphasizes this gap is a human rights issue that demands immediate attention and action.

The International Council for Men and Boys is a non-governmental organization that is working to end the 12 sex disparities that affect men and boys around the world. 






(5). Table 8.