Research suggests that gender inequality, measured using the gender inequality index (GII), influences stroke mortality in women compared to men. We examine how source country GII modifies the rate of ischemic stroke in women compared to men after immigration to Canada, a country with low gender inequality. We used linked health data and immigration records of 452,089, stroke-free immigrants aged 40–69 year who migrated from 123 countries. Over 15 years of follow-up, 5991 (1.3%) had an incident ischemic stroke. We demonstrate (a) a lower adjusted rate of stroke in women compared to men (hazard ratio 0.64; 95% CI 0.61–0.67); (b) that sex differences in stroke incidence were modified by source country GII, as the hazard of stroke in women vs. men attenuated by a factor of 1.06 for every 0.1 increase in the GII of the source country (Psex*GII = 0.002); and (c) migration to a country with low GII attenuates the adverse effect of source country GII on sex differences in stroke incidence. Evaluating pathways through which source country gender inequality differentially influences stroke risk in immigrant women compared to men could help develop strategies to mitigate the effects of early-life gender inequality on stroke risk.
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