Childcare, housework and embarrassment have been blamed for women in Britain failing to exercise.
Most people with tracking devices such as Fitbits set themselves a daily target of 10000 steps, but women achieve less than half of this.
A study using smartphone accelerometers that record stepping motions found that women manage only 4908 steps on average a day, while men rack up 5982.
Experts are calling on women to close the gender gap to avoid putting on weight in later life, which can lead to heart disease and stroke.
Lucy Wilkinson, a senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We know women do less physical activity than men as looking after their homes and children can leave them with less time to exercise.
“Women tell us they are self-conscious about exercising.
“But taking more steps in a day can help maintain a healthy weight, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, while doing fewer can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease.
“We want women to incorporate physical activity, such as walking, into their daily lives.”
The study by Stanford University in the US, published in the journal, Nature, took fitness readings from people in 111 countries.
In the 46 countries with detailed results, the UK falls within the top 10 for obesity, which is a particular risk to women who do not walk enough, the authors warn.
Women are 36% more likely to be considered physically inactive than men in Britain.
Stanford’s Dr Jure Leskovec, who led the study, said: “When activity inequality is greatest, women’s activity is reduced much more dramatically than men’s activity, and thus the negative connections to obesity can affect women more greatly.” - Daily Mail