Though being tall may not be as big of an issue for women as it is for men, it is in reality not much lower on their wish list. One of the major factors centers around the people by which a woman’s height is judged. If a woman is surrounded by shorter women, then she will seem tall. Yet, is there a way to know if a woman is tall in a broad sense?
Women are generally considered tall in the United States at 5’7″. The average height for women in the US is 5’4″ as compared to some European and Scandinavian countries where women average as tall as 5’6″. Females in most countries that are 3 inches over the average height are considered tall.
Here I will explore what it means to say a woman is tall, the averages for women in countries across the globe, and what the core determining factors are that ultimately decide how tall a woman will be. Read on if you are interested in just how vertically challenged or privileged one woman can be versus another.
- What Is Tall For A Woman?
- What Is Considered Tall For Women In Countries Around The World?
- Determining Factors For How Tall A Woman Will Be
- Can A Woman Be Too Tall?
- Tall Women In Hollywood
- Tall Women In Sports
- Who Was The Tallest Woman That Ever Lived?
- Are Women Getting Taller In America And Around The World?
- What Is Considered Tall For Women Takeaway…
What Is Tall For A Woman?
For women in the US 5’4″ is the average height whether or not it may seem the benchmark in a particular area. Since the United States is such a vast and populated country, there will be variations based on the genetics and diets of specific regions. This can be seen on a larger scale when comparing countries and cultures around the globe.
For the most part, when a woman reaches 5’7″ in the United States she is considered tall. When a female is 5’2″ or below she is considered to be short. For the ‘really’ tall designation, any woman that reaches 5’10” or over will be seen by all as vertically privileged.
As you can see, in any country the title of ‘tall’ is closely related to their own national or cultural average height, and not determined on a global scale. For women to reach the short or tall status in most countries, it is a difference of 2-3 inches off of the national average height for females.
To see who is the world’s tallest woman is and many other records get the 2021 Guinness World Records, it’s conveniently available at Amazon.
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What Is Considered Tall For Women In Countries Around The World?
It is fairly relative to say a woman is tall in a country like the US at 5’7″ when the national female average in many European countries is 5’5″ to 5’6″. Likewise, saying that a woman is average in the US at 5’4″ doesn’t hold up if the same woman is in Guatemala where the female average height is only 4’11”.
Countries in Asia, the South Pacific, and South America all have shorter national average heights for women than those on the other end of the spectrum in European and Scandinavian countries. What is considered tall of men and women changes depending on the country they are from.
If you are interested in seeing what the definition of tall is when speaking about men, see my article here…
Overview Of Tall Women In Other Countries
There is a wide array of averages for female height across the world. I will touch on why this is later, but here I will list some facts about different cultures and their norms to give you a better picture.
Different Women’s Heights Across The Globe
- The average height for women in the Netherlands is 5’6″, so a woman that is 5’9″ or above would be considered tall.
- Guatemala’s average female height is 4’11” and a tall woman in this central American country would be 5’1″ or taller.
- In the United Kingdom, women average a height of 5’4″, with a tall woman being 5’6″ or above.
- An average height for women in the Philippines is 5’0″ with 5’3″ being considered tall.
Again, for a woman to be considered tall, take the average height of the country in which she lives and add 2-3 inches.
The Tallest Countries For Women – Ranked
We will now look at this from a countrywide perspective. Here I have listed for you the top 20 countries in the world with the tallest national average height for women.
These are not meant to be the extremes of the population, but an average for women in that country as a whole. These numbers are affected by the genetics of their parents and the quality of their diet that allowed them to either miss or reach their full genetic potential.
These numbers are from an amalgamation of over 2100 studies, covering over 65 million people, living in 200 countries as well as reported figures by other sources. These studies revealed the average heights of women in these countries at the end of their growth cycles, around age 19.
I have converted the meters in the original study to feet and inches in a separate column so that everyone can have a familiar frame of reference.
|Country||Average Height For Women (m)||Average Height For Women (ft)|
|Bosnia / Herzegovina||1.67||5ft-5in|
Determining Factors For How Tall A Woman Will Be
So, what does it mean to be a tall woman, short girl, or average height female? What is it that causes some women to be taller than their husbands and others to be shorter than their children?
If a woman is said to be average height in the US, she is probably around 5’4″ tall. There are several areas of influence that go into how tall or short she is or could have been. Let’s look at the major players in the mix.
- The type of nutrition women have in early through late childhood
- Ethnicity holds distinct genetic proclivities
- The time of puberty and the associated hormones
- The extent of physical and mental health play a large role
Out of all of these factors, the one that can not be altered from infancy and beyond is genetics. Though a healthy lifestyle with activity and the right foods aids a young girl to grow to her full potential, genetics sets the limits.
This means that the ethnic makeup of a woman’s family tree plays the foundational role in the equation.
This is not to say in individual cases that nutrition does not play a significant role in reaching the final goal that genetic markers has set.
In ancient and medieval times, nutrition was a major factor in people reaching their full height potential. Women in these times that did not have proper nutrition would regularly turn out shorter than they could have.
There is a way to get an idea of how tall daughters can become for interested parents. Height Calculators like this one can give a close approximation.
Can A Woman Be Too Tall?
Many women that wish they were taller do not usually intend to become more than a couple of inches over their current height. This is usually for aesthetic reasons, but can be for more practical things as well.
Physically and emotionally speaking, a woman can be too tall. Many that are several inches to as much as a foot over the national average of women in their country find that along with such advanced height can come health and social problems as well. Back, hip, knee, and neck issues are common.
Among women that are 6 inches or more taller than their peers depending on the country, there can even arise heart problems as well as other organ issues. In some instances this can and has led to a much shorter lifespan than other women in their society.
There are other issues as well…
- Clothing: It is a known problem among the very tall that shoes, clothes, and accessories are designed for the average women. This makes sense from a business standpoint. Most females will fit into this category and be inclined to buy these items. Yet, for those on the extremes of the height scale it means more expense for tailor-made options.
- Automobiles: Though it may not occur to some, for the overly tall cars and public transportation can be a tight fit. Women don’t usually have to select a car with enough head and leg room to accommodate their size. This is the case for those with well above average height.
- Furniture: Most seating is designed as a one size fits all approach. But what if that doesn’t cut it for an above average woman in the height department? Again, this makes sense for designers and manufactures, but can be a down right hassle for the vertically advantaged.
This is just a short list of the things that have to be dealt with when anyone towers over the rest of us. Some may say these are trivial, but until you walk in someone else’s size 12 day to day, you simply can’t know what it is like.
Tall Women In Hollywood
Let’s look at those that may not be at the extremes, but are still considered tall for their industry and for women in general. Long legs have been a point of contention between those in Hollywood vying for women to be treated with respect and those willing to be objectified.
There are several women that are simply tall as actresses whether they have had it exploited or not. These women are sometimes not thought of as tall due to ‘movie magic’ downplaying the fact. Some have played up their height to land roles or gain notoriety.
Here are some women that you may or may not have known are taller than the average American woman…
- Gal Gadot – 5’10”
- Julia Roberts – 5’10”
- Mandy Moore – 5’10”
- Zendaya – 5’10”
- Laura Dern – 5’10”
- Lucy Lawless – 5’10”
- Laura Prepon – 5’10”
- Uma Thurman – 5’11”
- Aisha Tyler – 5’11”
- Nicole Kidman – 5’11”
- Famke Janssen – 5’11”
- Karen Gillan – 5’11”
- Sigourney Weaver – 6′
- Jane Lynch – 6′
- Geena Davis – 6′
- Alison Janney – 6′
- Elizabeth Debicki – 6’2″
- Gwendoline Christie – 6’3″
Tall Women In Sports
It may come as no surprise to some that women in sports are some of the tallest in the world. Physical beauty may play a small role in their success, but physical height in many sports is almost a prerequisite.
There are some sports of course that tall women may excel at more than others, but overall height usually is a plus. Let’s look at some of the tallest ladies in women’s basketball…
- Katharen Mattera – 6’5″
- Carolyn Moos – 6’6″
- Sylvia Shequeria – 6’6″
- Kara Drinan – 6’7″
- Lindsay Taylor – 6’8″
- Brittney Griner – 6’8″
- Elizabeth Cambage – 6’8″
- Maria Alexandrovna Stepanova – 6’8″
- Zheng Haixia – 6’8-1/2″
- Malgorzata Dydek – 7’2″
Who Was The Tallest Woman That Ever Lived?
Who was the tallest woman in history? And is this documented or certified in any way?
Some claim that the tallest woman in history was Zeng Jinlian. She was reported to have topped 8’1-3/4′. Others say it was Trijntje Keever from Russia who it was claimed reached 8’4″ tall. The Guinness Book Of World Records lists Jinlian as the winner as Keever’s height is unverifiable.
According to Guinness World Records, Zeng Jinlian was an astonishing 7’1-1/2″ by age 13. Her mother, father, and brother were all between 5’1″ and 5’4″ tall.
She developed several life threatening diseases throughout her short life and died at the young age of 17 years old.
Are Women Getting Taller In America And Around The World?
Are women getting taller across the globe? Can we expect their average heights to rise over the next several decades?
Women on average are getting taller in America as well as other parts of the world. These increases are slight from year to year and will not generally be noticed for a couple more generations. It will require several factors like ever improving diet and healthcare to accomplish it.
The heights in other countries are poised to increase significantly more than in the United States and Canada. Due to better access to food and medical care, the genetic potential of these countries is being reached more and more.
This also has a lot to do with mate selection and the height of resulting children.
One problem seems to be the ever expanding waistlines and the associated health problems of this new found nutrition filled life. As people consume more, which in turn adds to their health and height, they also add in more bad choices for the things they take in.
Time will tell if we are able to continue the trend toward healthy lifestyles around the world or if we will see a topping off of height in women due to shorter lifespans.
It looks good from all the data we have so far, but we still have a long way to go to ensure everyone knows the dangers of sugars and processed foods.
What Is Considered Tall For Women Takeaway…
What is considered tall for a woman? Well, of course that depends on her parents’ backgrounds, the country in which she lives, and any other underlying health conditions. On average, tall for a woman will be between 5’6″ and 5’11” tall.
Just remember that genetic potential is not reached by many women that experience certain hardships in life at a young age. This can be external or self-imposed, but either way, things like diet and lifestyle can reduce a woman’s final height even if she could have been taller.
To see some more great articles about how high you can expect your kids or even yourself to be, read some of our other ones…