Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Russia - No country for old Men

The average male life expectancy in Russia is just 59, while for women it is 70 an exceptionally large gap.

In the cities, as in the countryside, there is a perplexing absence of old men. The usual suspects include poor health care, smoking, unemployment and alcoholism.

However, experts agree that the most significant fact is that on average, Russian men consume a bottle of vodka a day, with some 30% of all male deaths in Russia alcohol related. The reasons why they consume so much alcohol are not so clear but are surely closely associated wth male socialisation.

By comparison, the average life span for men in the United States is 73 years and for women 79 years. Male life expectancy in France and Germany is 74 years, while for women it is 82 and 80 years respectively.

While in Australia the male life expectancy is 78 and for women it is 84.

Today in the Australian parliament the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the indigenous population of Australia for the poor treatment they have received at the hands of successive governments. This was a great step forward for Australia to address this profound injustice.

In an interview Kevin Rudd is quoted as saying that "......we can get on with the business of closing the gap in terms of life expectancy, education levels and health levels between indigenous and non-indigenous communities."

Lets hope he will also confront the injustices that have been perpetrated against men in this country that have lead to a gap in life expectancy, education levels and health levels between men and women. It is interesting to note that from 1996-2001, the life expectancy for an Indigenous male was 59 years, while for an Indigenous female it was 65 years.

No comments: