They might be paid less, given fewer senior business and political roles and badly under-represented in the media, but women have long held one key advantage that men could not beat: they live longer.
Now men, or at least the most wealthy and educated of them, are living longer than the average woman for the first time.
No social group of men has ever outlived female averages before, but the life expectancy gender gap is steadily closing.
The gap between men and women has historically been so wide that on average even the most deprived women used to outlive the richest men. In the early 1980s, women in the least advantaged socioeconomic group could expect to live for an average 77 years whereas the most advantaged group of men typically lived to 75.
But men have been catching up with women and are surviving longer since the 1970s, partly thanks to a move away from heavy physical jobs and falls in male smoking rates.
This has now resulted in men in top professions outliving the average woman in England and Wales, research by the Office for National Statistics shows. Men in higher managerial and professional jobs can expect to live for 82.5 years; marginally longer than an average woman at 82.4 years, an analysis of socioeconomic groups between 2007 and 2011 has found.
Chris White, an ONS Statistician, said: “There are a number of factors behind the closing gap in life expectancy. In particular, the declining numbers of men working in heavy industry jobs (such as mining) and manufacturing towards jobs in the service sector, along with a substantial reduction in the proportion of men smoking.”
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