Our review demonstrated that women generally have a higher prevalence of disabilities than men. In several studies, these differences could be partly attributed to sex differences in the distribution of socioeconomic conditions. We also found great elasticity in the magnitude of both the sex gap in disabilities and in the proportion that could be attributed to differences in socioeconomic conditions.

Old-age disabilities are more common among women than men, and adverse socioeconomic conditions are associated with a higher prevalence of disabilities among older adults. In a recent study published in the Journal of Population Ageing, we completed a mapping review of the available evidence assessing the extent to which the observed sex differences in older adults’ disabilities can be attributed to sex differences in socioeconomic status. We searched three databases for articles published between 2009 and 2019, and 6 articles were included in the review.

We thereby find that a sizeable share of gender health differences may be alleviated by addressing gender inequalities in socioeconomic conditions. However, part of these gender differences beyond socioeconomic inequalities may relate to biological factors – which would require specific health systems’ response to deal with particular conditions or clinical risk factors – whereas others may relate to other social determinants of health that could be addressed through policy. Read the paper here

FutureGEN paper published in Journal of Population Ageing