Coverage of The White House Gender Policy Council - 2021

More men than women are dying from COVID-19. Why?

In Harvard’s GenderSci Lab, Harvard Chan School students and colleagues are gathering and analyzing data to try and find some answers

Harvard University - T.H Chan School of Public Health, by Karen Feldscher, July 31, 2020

As COVID-19 has swept across the globe, it has killed many more men than women. Some have suggested that biological factors are driving the difference. But researchers at Harvard’s GenderSci Lab—including several students from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health—think that social factors may be playing the largest role.

The lab—which focuses on generating feminist concepts, methods, and theories for scientific research on sex and gender—includes gender scholars and biomedical scientists from Harvard and other universities. They’ve been gathering and analyzing data from across the U.S. to better understand gender disparities in COVID-19 cases and deaths, looking at factors including age, occupation, pre-existing conditions, behaviors, race and ethnicity, and living environment.

Last month, the lab released its US Gender/Sex COVID-19 Data Tracker, which offers the most comprehensive collection available of sex-separated COVID-19 statistics, and is publicly available. Two Harvard Chan School students—Ann Caroline Danielsen, an MPH-65 student focused on health and social behavior, and Tamara Rushovich, a PhD student in population health sciences—worked on the creation and launch of the tracker.

Danielsen contributed to creating the tracker, which consists of COVID-19 data on gender and sex collected from each of the 50 states’ health department websites, because there’s no central repository of such data. “One of the biggest challenges we initially faced was that every website looks different, and reports its data differently,” she said. Some states may provide data in a comprehensive spreadsheet; others may provide small charts that can’t be copied and pasted. “I’ve gone through all 50 of them several times, and it’s been very labor-intensive,” she said.

Rushovich analyzed the data and produced graphs and tables highlighting different aspects of sex-separated COVID-19 data, such as numbers of cases and deaths, rates of cases and deaths, age-adjusted mortality rates, and mortality rates over time.

The data show that COVID-19 case and mortality rates for men and women vary widely among U.S. states. “In some states, the mortality rate among men is almost double the rate among women,” said Rushovich. “In other states, it’s almost equal. That suggests there’s probably other context—social factors, occupational exposures—that are influencing why the rates are varying between men and women, and that it’s not only related only to biological differences.”

While working on the tracker, the students discovered that, in many places, data was incomplete. For instance, not all states report COVID-19 deaths by basic demographic factors such as age, sex/gender, and race/ethnicity, or by the presence or absence of pre-existing conditions. The number of states reporting interactions between any of these factors—such as COVID-19 deaths by sex-gender and race/ethnicity—is even lower. So the GenderSci Lab launched another project—a “report card” on the status of COVID-19 surveillance across the 50 states. Danielsen and Joseph Bruch, a PhD student in population health sciences, worked on the report card, which was released on July 14 and will be updated monthly.

“We see the report card as a tool for encouraging accountability from U.S. states,” said Danielsen. “We hope it will put pressure on the states to release more comprehensive COVID-19 data, allowing for better analyses of how social variables linked to age, sex/gender, race/ethnicity, and comorbidity status intersect with each other to shape health outcomes for the disease.”

The GenderSci Lab’s COVID-19 work has made headlines. Lab directors Heather Shattuck-Heidorn of the University of Southern Maine, Meredith Reiches of the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Sarah Richardson of Harvard University wrote a June 24, 2020 op-ed for the New York Times delving into possible reasons for the gender gap in COVID-19 deaths, and Danielsen, Bruch, and colleagues co-authored a July 14 Health Affairs blog about the report card.

Learning more about why COVID-19 impacts some people more than others can help states better target prevention, intervention, and response efforts, said Rushovich. “When you have a better idea who and why and where certain groups are most disproportionately impacted by COVID, then you can better direct resources, such as testing sites and contact tracing, and hopefully—one day when there’s a vaccine—vaccine distribution,” she said.

The Boy Crisis Book - Warren Farrell - John Gray

The Boy Crisis Book

The Boy Crisis: Why Our Boys Are Struggling and What We Can Do About It

Authors- Waren Farrell PhD and John Gray PhD

What is the boy crisis?

It's a crisis of education. Worldwide, boys are 50 percent less likely than girls to meet basic proficiency in reading, math, and science.

It's a crisis of mental health. ADHD is on the rise. And as boys become young men, their suicide rates go from equal to girls to six times that of young women.

It's a crisis of fathering. Boys are growing up with less-involved fathers and are more likely to drop out of school, drink, do drugs, become delinquent, and end up in prison.

It's a crisis of purpose. Boys' old sense of purpose-being a warrior, a leader, or a sole breadwinner-are fading. Many bright boys are experiencing a "purpose void," feeling alienated, withdrawn, and addicted to immediate gratification.

So, what is The Boy Crisis? A comprehensive blueprint for what parents, teachers, and policymakers can do to help our sons become happier, healthier men, and fathers and leaders worthy of our respect.


If Black Lives Matter, Black Dads Must Matter

Townhall, USA, Opinion, Dr. Warren Farrell, June 19, 2020

Loving African-American lives as much as we love the lives of others clearly includes addressing systemic racism. And it also means addressing the way America treats black men versus African-American women: African-American men are stopped by, shot by, and killed by police more than 20 times as frequently as African-American women. And the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that African-American men are 25 times more likely to be imprisoned.

If disproportionately killing and imprisoning African-Americans is racist, then disproportionately killing and imprisoning males is sexist. But the real sexism is caring only about the systemic racism, and turning a blind eye to the other half of systemic: the sexism. The other half of "African-American male" is male.

Caring about Black boys and men quickly reveals there is no community that has been harder hit by dad-deprivation than the African-American community. It wasn’t always this way. Between 1880 and 1960, a majority of African-American families consisted of married fathers and mothers. But in the early sixties, nuclear families dramatically decreased. Inner city poverty and crime dramatically increased.

In 1965 sociologist Daniel Moynihan, who served under Presidents Nixon, Kennedy, and Johnson, led an investigation of inner-city life that concluded that the main predictor of growing up poor was not race per se but being born to parents who are not married. Why? A predictable outcome of no marriage was little or no father involvement.

While the Moynihan Report identified the quarter of black children born outside marriage as a crisis in 1965, the government’s counterproductive solution-giving moms money for not being married to dads-has contributed to almost a tripling of unmarried births among blacks (from 25 to 72 percent) and an expansion of the problem to white and Hispanic communities. The percentage of white children born outside marriage is now 36 percent-a nearly twelvefold increase from the 3.1 percent that it was in 1965.

Single moms have done an extraordinary job raising children even as they often raise money-and millions of their children have turned out well. But this rise of father absence often leaves single moms overwhelmed; dads depressed with neither purpose nor love; children more likely to be damaged in over 50 developmental areas; and pockets of fatherlessness that become pockets of crime.

As we’ve gone from the Era of Father Knows Best to Father Knows Less, Father’s Day is a perfect time to rediscover the value of dad. Fathers do not know less, they know differently. For example, Dad-style parenting is more likely to feature bonding by roughhousing, and stopping the roughhousing when rough gets too rough. And as dads engage the children in games, if his children don’t try hard enough or smart enough, he’ll teach them to be winners by letting them lose. The results are counterintuitive: Dad-enriched children demonstrate greater empathy, social skills, and postponed gratification.

Both Dad-deprived boys and girls suffer in fifty-plus areas of development, but a Dad-deprived boy is likely to suffer more intensely-by emotional withdrawal, depression, obesity, ADHD, imprisonment, and addiction to video games, porn, alcohol, drugs, and death by opioids.