Yvonne: This is 6 Minute English, I’m Yvonne Archer – and I’ve been joined by Rob.
Rob: Hello Yvonne.
Yvonne: Now Rob, you may not know this, but experts say that men are the weaker sex.
Can you explain that term for us please, ‘the weaker sex’?
Rob: Well I’ll try! Now traditionally, women are generally known as ‘the weaker
Sex’ – so they’re not as strong as men and need to be protected. But in terms of
Health, women are the strong, healthy ones – so, men are supposedly the weaker
Yvonne: Now it’s time for today’s question! Rob, compared with the early 1960s, each
Year, the number of men who enter medical schools in the UK has doubled. But
How many women enter medical school each year?
A) About the same number
B) Triple the number – or
Rob: Hmm… that’s a tricky one. I would
probably say about the same number.
Yvonne: Mmm…as usual, we’ll find out the correct answer later on. So, why are men
The weaker sex in terms of health? Writer, Doug Devaney told the BBC’s
Breakfast television programme how he started taking tablets for angina – a
Type of heart condition. But unfortunately, Doug was still getting chest pains
And a few days later, he collapsed in the street.
Extract 1: Doug Devaney
15 minutes later after the fact of the initial attack, I thought: ‘Oh well, I’ve got through
That’ and so forth. I went off and carried on my business as usual. But then I realised
After a while that I couldn’t run for the bus or anything like that. So I just thought:
‘Well – I’ve already been there; I don’t want to be a fuss, I don’t want to be a burden.’
Rob: Wow – just 15 minutes later, it was ‘business as usual’ for Doug; he carried
On doing what he usually does. Doug should have gone back to the hospital
When he was still getting pains in his chest – but he didn’t. Shocking!
Yvonne: Definitely – and that helps to explain why men are the weaker sex. They find it
Difficult to ask for medical help when they need it, which can be dangerous.
For example, Rob, did you know that men are more likely than women to get
Cancer and die from it – and they’re more likely to commit suicide?
Rob: Hmm…no, I didn’t know that. That’s really shocking.
Yvonne: And sad too. So if more men ask for medical attention, more lives could be
Saved. But did you catch the reasons Doug Devaney gave for not going back to
The hospital, Rob?
Rob: Yes, he said he ‘didn’t want to be a fuss’ – so he didn’t want to draw any
Attention to himself. Or we can also say: ‘he didn’t want to make a fuss’.
Yvonne: He also said he ‘didn’t want to be a burden’.
Rob: No, he didn’t want to be a nuisance, a bother – to use up anyone’s time and
Make them feel like they were responsible for looking after him. Doug didn’t
Want to be ‘a burden’.
Yvonne: Of course, doctors are there to look after us. We’re not a burden to them even
If, like men, many of our illnesses are caused by lifestyle choices. Rob, what
Are ‘lifestyle choices’?
Rob: Well, these are things we choose to do in life – such as drinking and smoking
Too much, an unhealthy diet maybe, or not getting enough exercise. Those are
All ‘lifestyle choices’.
Yvonne: Mmm…now, as men tend to work more hours than women, it can be more
Difficult – or harder for them to ask for the help they need – and get to doctors’
Appointments. But are there other reasons why they don’t? Peter Baker is Chief
Executive of the charity, The Men’s Health Forum. And Peter has a possible
Answer for us.