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Women are more likely than men to act as caregivers to a spouse; a 2006 study found that 69 percent of caregivers in the U. (This is only compounded by the fact that women live, on average, five years longer than men.) Living alone in old age can cause women’s mental and physical health to deteriorate.
Troublingly, a woman being married to an older man is correlated to living fewer years.
But because detailed birth, death, and marriage records from the Pleistocene don’t exist, we don’t have direct evidence for any evolutionary advantages tied to age differences.
But it’s trumpeted in unscientific terms — wildly overstating the claims made by practicing scientists — and disseminated with the aim of shoring up a system that benefits men rather than rigorously establishing what’s true.
It’s myopic to delve into this research without also examining the society that brought it about.
In a society based on the model of male breadwinner, female homemaker, women will seek out a man whose economic resources make him a good provider, and men will seek out a woman whose pliability and readiness for reproduction makes her a good housewife.
According to this theory, in societies where there’s more gender equality, the age gap between partners will shrink. Analyzing Buss’s data on age differences between spouses in 37 countries in light of those countries’ scores on the UN gender equality index, scientists Alice Early and Wendy Wood discovered, “As gender equality increased, women expressed less preference for older men, men expressed less preference for younger women, and consequently the sex difference in the preferred age of mates became smaller.”We’ve seen this in the U.
(Which isn’t true: their fertility declines every year after age 20, as with women.