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Encyclopedia > Woman
Diverse women. Most women customarily wear clothing, considering nudity more private or intimate.

A 'woman' is a female human. The term woman (irregular plural: women) usually is used for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. However, the term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "Women's rights". Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (867x1220, 797 KB) Compiled from images on commons, should be free use. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (867x1220, 797 KB) Compiled from images on commons, should be free use. ... The hand mirror and comb of the Roman Goddess Venus is often used to represent the female sex. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man or knowing man) under the family Hominidae (known as the great apes). ... // Two Tamil girls in Tiruvannamalai. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

Contents

Etymology

Symbol of the planet Venus, also used to indicate the female gender among animals who reproduce sexually
Symbol of the planet Venus, also used to indicate the female gender among animals who reproduce sexually

The English term "Man" (from Proto-Germanic mannaz "man, person") and words derived therefrom can designate any or even all of the human race regardless of their gender or age. This is indeed the oldest usage of "Man" in English. This derives from a Proto-Indo-European root *man-" meaning hand. A similar cognate is Old Norse "mund", hand. The distinctive and dexterous hands of humans, compared to those of other animals, are the basis of this term and the similarly derived term, "manual", by hand. Image File history File links Symbol_venus. ... Image File history File links Symbol_venus. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... A man is a male human. ... Map of the Pre-Roman Iron Age culture(s) associated with Proto-Germanic, ca 500 BC-50 BC. The area south of Scandinavia is the Jastorf culture Proto-Germanic, the proto-language believed by scholars to be the common ancestor of the Germanic languages, includes among its descendants Dutch, Yiddish... Mannaz or Manwaz is the Proto-Germanic term for man, in the gender-neutral sense of person, human being. The word developed into Old English man, mann human being, person, (c. ...


In Old English the words wer and wyf (also wæpman and wifman) were what was used to refer to "a man" and "a woman" respectively, and "Man" was gender neutral. In Middle English man displaced wer as term for "male human", whilst wyfman (which eventually evolved into woman) was retained for "female human". "Man" does continue to carry its original sense of "Human" however, resulting in an asymmetry sometimes criticized as sexist. [1] (See also Womyn.) Old English (also called Anglo-Saxon) is an early form of the English language that was spoken in parts of what is now England and southern Scotland between the mid-fifth century and the mid-twelfth century. ... Middle English is the name given by historical linguistics to the diverse forms of the English language spoken between the Norman invasion of 1066 and the mid-to-late 15th century, when the Chancery Standard, a form of London-based English, began to become widespread, a process aided by the... A man is a male human. ... Trinomial name Homo sapiens sapiens Linnaeus, 1758 Humans, or human beings, are bipedal primates belonging to the mammalian species Homo sapiens (Latin for wise man or knowing man) under the family Hominidae (known as the great apes). ... Symmetry is a characteristic of geometrical shapes, equations and other objects; we say that such an object is symmetric with respect to a given operation if this operation, when applied to the object, does not appear to change it. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


The symbol for the planet Venus is the sign also used in biology for the female gender (in species with a male gender; all species have females but many have no males): a stylized representation of the goddess Venus's hand mirror or an abstract symbol for the goddess: a circle with a small equilateral cross underneath (Unicode: ♀). The Venus symbol also represented femininity, and in ancient alchemy stood for copper. Alchemists constructed the symbol from a circle (representing spirit) above an equilateral cross (representing matter).
Adjective Venusian or (rarely) Cytherean (*min temperature refers to cloud tops only) Atmospheric characteristics Atmospheric pressure 9. ... A mirror is a surface with good specular reflection that is smooth enough to form an image. ... Because of technical limitations, some web browsers may not display some special characters in this article. ... Femininity comprises the physical and mental attributes associated with the female sex and is partly culturally determined. ... General Name, Symbol, Number copper, Cu, 29 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 11, 4, d Appearance metallic pinkish red Atomic mass 63. ... The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning breath. ... In physics, matter is commonly defined as the substance of which physical objects are composed, not counting the contribution of various energy or force-fields, which are not usually considered to be matter per se (though they may contribute to the mass of objects). ...


Age and terminology

Enlarge
Painting by William Adolphe Bouguereau- Bather

Womanhood is the period in a female's life after she has transitioned from girlhood, at least physically, having passed the menarche. Many cultures have rites of passage to symbolize a woman's coming of age, such as confirmation in some branches of Christianity, bat mitzvah in Judaism, or even just the custom of a special celebration for a certain birthday (generally between 12 and 21). Download high resolution version (1178x2427, 1248 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Download high resolution version (1178x2427, 1248 KB) Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... William-Adolphe Bouguereau, self-portrait (1886) William Adolphe Bouguereau (November 30, 1825 – August 19, 1905) was a French academic painter. ... Image of a woman on the Pioneer plaque sent to outer space. ... Menarche is the first menstrual period, or first menstrual bleeding. ... A rite of passage is a ritual that marks a change in a persons social or sexual status. ... Coming of age is a young persons formal transition from adolescence to adulthood. ... Christianity is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ... When a Jewish child reaches the age of maturity (12 years and one day for girls, 13 years and one day for boys) that child becomes responsible for him/herself under Jewish law; at this point a boy is said to become Bar Mitzvah (בר מצו&#1493... Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people. ... A childs first birthday party For other uses of the term, see Birthday (disambiguation). ...


The word woman can be used generally, to mean any female human, or specifically, to mean an adult female human as contrasted with girl. The word girl originally meant "young person of either sex" in English; it was only around the beginning of the 16th century that it came to mean specifically a female child. Nowadays girl sometimes is used colloquially to refer to a young or unmarried woman. During the early 1970s feminists challenged such use, and use of the word to refer to a fully grown woman may cause offence. In particular previously common terms like office girl are no longer used. (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... 9 year old girl A child (plural: children). ... The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ...


Conversely, in certain cultures which link family honor with female virginity, the word girl is still used to refer to a never-married woman; in this sense it is used in a fashion roughly analogous to the obsolete English maid or maiden. Referring to an unmarried female as woman may, in such a culture, imply that she is sexually experienced, which would be an insult to her family. Honor (or honor) comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. ... In Roman times, the Vestal Virgins remained celibate for 30 years on penalty of death Virginity is a term used to describe what a person has when he or she has not yet engaged in sexual intercourse. ...


In some settings, the use of girl to refer to an adult female is a vestigial practice (such as girls' night out), even among some elderly women. In this sense, girl may be considered to be the analogue to the British word bloke for a man, although it again fails to meet the parallel status as an adult and the only true American English parallel to girl is boy. Some feminists cite this lack of an informal yet respectful term for women as misogynistic; they regard non-parallel usages, such as men and girls, as sexist. Misogyny () is hatred or strong prejudice against women. ... The sign of the headquarters of the National Association Opposed To Woman Suffrage Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the...


There are various words used to refer to the quality of being a woman. The term "womanhood" merely means the state of being a woman, having passed the menarche; "femininity" is used to refer to a set of supposedly typical female qualities associated with a certain attitude to gender roles; "womanliness" is like "femininity", but is usually associated with a different view of gender roles; "femaleness" is a general term, but is often used as shorthand for "human femaleness"; "distaff" is an archaic adjective derived from women's conventional role as a spinner, now used only as a deliberate archaism; "muliebrity" is a "neologism" (derived from the Latin) meant to provide a female counterpart of "virility", but used very loosely, sometimes to mean merely "womanhood", sometimes "femininity", and sometimes even as a collective term for women. Menarche is the first menstrual period, or first menstrual bleeding. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... In language, an archaism is the deliberate use of an older form that has fallen out of current use. ... Muliebrity is the quality of being a woman. ... Virility is part of the traditional idealized male gender role. ...


Biology and gender

The human female reproductive system
The human female reproductive system

In terms of biology, the female sex organs are involved in the reproductive system, whereas the secondary sex characteristics are involved in nurturing children or, in some cultures, attracting a mate. The ovaries, in addition to their regulatory function producing hormones, produce female gametes called eggs which, when combined with male gametes (sperm), can mature into new individuals. The uterus is an organ with tissue to protect and nurture the developing fetus and muscle to expel it when giving birth. The vagina is used in copulation and birthing (although the word vagina is sometimes colloquially or ignorantly used for the vulva or external female genitalia, which also includes the labia, the clitoris, and the female urethra). The breast evolved from the sweat gland to produce milk, a nutritious secretion that is the most distinctive characteristic of Mammals. In mature women, the breast is generally more prominent than in most other mammals; this prominence, not necessary to produce milk, is probably at least partially the result of sexual selection. (For other ways in which men commonly differ physically from women, see Man.) Schematic drawing of female reproductive organs, frontal view. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into sex organ. ... Biology (from Greek βίος λόγος, see below) is the branch of science dealing with the study of living organisms. ... A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those anatomical parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans... A peafowl displays its secondary sexual characteristics (long, colored feathers). ... Human female internal reproductive anatomy Ovaries are a part of a female organism that produces eggs. ... The signifier sperm can refer to: (mass noun, from Greek sperma = seed) a substance which consists of spermatozoa and which is a component of semen (mass noun) semen itself (informally, count noun with plural sperm or sperms) a single spermatozoon (= sperm cell) sperma ceti (Latin ceti, genitive of cetus = whale... The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ of most mammals, including humans. ... The vagina, (from Latin, literally sheath or scabbard ) is the tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. ... The vagina, (from Latin, literally sheath or scabbard ) is the tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. ... Labeled picture of external human female reproductive anatomy. ... Parts of a vulva The external genital organs of the female are collectively known as the vulva (also sometimes called the pudenda). ... A womans clitoris extends from the visible portion to a point below the pubic bone. ... Female anatomy In anatomy, the urethra is a tube which connects the urinary bladder to the outside of the body. ... A pregnant womans breasts. ... Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ... A man is a male human. ...


An imbalance of maternal hormonal levels and some chemicals (or drugs) may alter the secondary sexual characteristics of fetuses. Most women have the karyotype 46,XX, but around one in a thousand will be 47,XXX, and one in 2500 will be 45,X. This contrasts with the typical male karotype of 46,XY; thus, the X and Y chromosomes are known as female and male, respectively. Unlike the Y chromosome, the X can come from either the mother or the father, thus genetic studies which focus on the female line use mitochondrial DNA. Karyogram of human male using Giemsa staining. ... Turner syndrome encompasses a number of chromosomal abnormalities, of which monosomy X, is the most common. ... A karotype is the characterisation of an organisims chromosomal complement at mitotic metaphase. ... The X chromosome is one of the two sex-determining chromosomes in many animal species, including mammals (the other is the Y chromosome). ... The human Y chromosome is one of two sex chromosomes, it contains the genes that cause testis development, thus determining maleness. ... Faces of mother and child; detail of sculpture at Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Female mallard duck and ducklings A mother is the biological or social female parent of a child. ... Father with child Daddy and Fatherhood redirect here. ... It has been suggested that Mitochondrial DNA be merged into this article or section. ...


Biological factors are not the sole determinants of whether persons can be considered, or consider themselves, women. Some women can have abnormal hormonal or chromosomal differences (such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, complete or partial androgen insensitivity syndrome, or other intersex conditions), and there are women who may have, or have had prior to surgical intervention, physiology that would be considered typical in a male (trans, transgendered or transsexual women; there are varying social, legal, and individual definitions with regard to this issue). (See gender identity.) Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) refers to any of several autosomal recessive diseases resulting from defects in steps of the synthesis of cortisol from cholesterol by the adrenal glands. ... Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS, or Androgen resistance syndrome) is a set of disorders of sexual differentiation that results from mutations of the gene encoding the androgen receptor. ... An intersexual is a person (or individual of any unisexual species) who is born with genitalia and/or secondary sexual characteristics of indeterminate sex, or which combine features of both sexes. ... Transgender (IPA: , from trans (Latin) and gender (English) ) is an overarching term applied to a variety of individuals, behaviors, and groups involving tendencies that diverge from the normative gender role (woman or man) commonly, but not always, assigned at birth, as well as the role traditionally held by society. ... A transsexual (sometimes transexual) person establishes a permanent identity with the opposite gender to their assigned (usually at birth) sex. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Picture of nude woman during the 1920's
Picture of nude woman during the 1920's

Although fewer females than males are born (the ratio is around 1:1.05), due to a longer life expectancy there are only 81 men aged 60 or over for every 100 women of the same age, and among the oldest populations, there are only 53 men for every 100 women. Women have a lower death rate than men, and on average, live five years longer. This is due to a combination of factors: genetics (redundant and varied genes present on sex chromosomes in women); sociology (such as not being expected in most countries to perform military service); health-impacting choices (such as suicide or the use of cigarettes, and alcohol); the presence of the female hormone estrogen, which has a cardioprotective effect in premenopausal women; and the effect of high levels of androgens in men. Out of the total human population, there are 101.3 men for every 100 women (source: 2001 World Almanac). Image File history File links Flapper_nude_woman_1920. ... Image File history File links Flapper_nude_woman_1920. ... Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth) is the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. ... This stylistic schematic diagram shows a gene in relation to the double helix structure of DNA and to a chromosome (right). ... A sex-determination system is a biological system that determines the development of sexual characteristics in an organism. ... Social interactions and their consequences are the subject of sociology. ... Conscript redirects here, to artificial script. ... Suicide (from Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of willfully ending ones own life. ... A lit cigarette will burn to ash on one end. ... Bottles of cachaça, a Brazilian alcoholic beverage. ... Estriol. ... Androgen is the generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors. ...


After the onset of menarche, most women are able to become pregnant and bear children. This generally requires internal fertilization of her eggs with the sperm of a man through sexual intercourse, though artificial insemination or the surgical implantation of an existing embryo is also possible (see reproductive technology). The study of female reproduction and reproductive organs is called gynaecology. Women generally reach menopause in their late 40s or early 50s, at which point their ovaries cease producing estrogen and they can no longer become pregnant. Menarche is the first menstrual period, or first menstrual bleeding. ... A pregnant woman Pregnancy is the process by which a mammalian female carries a live offspring from conception until it develops to the point where the offspring is capable of living outside the womb. ... Childbirth (also called labour, birth, partus or parturition) is the culmination of a human pregnancy with the emergence of a newborn infant from its mothers uterus. ... Categories: Biology stubs ... Sexual reproduction is a type of reproduction that results in increasing genetic diversity of the offspring. ... Artificial insemination (AI) is when sperm is placed into a females uterus (intrauterine), or cervix (intracervical) using artificial means rather than by natural copulation. ... Reproductive technology is a term for all current and anticipated uses of technology in human and animal reproduction, including: artificial insemination artificial wombs cloning (see human cloning for the special case of human beings) cryopreservation of sperm, oocytes, embryos embryo testing embryo transfer genetic engineering hormone treatment to increase fertility... A sex organ, or primary sexual characteristic, narrowly defined, is any of those anatomical parts of the body (which are not always bodily organs according to the strict definition) which are involved in sexual reproduction and constitute the reproductive system in a complex organism; namely: Male: penis (notably the glans... The shamefulness associated with the examination of female genitalia has long inhibited the science of gynaecology. ... Menopause is the physiological cessation of menstrual cycles associated with advancing age in species that experience such cycles. ... Human female internal reproductive anatomy Ovaries are a part of a female organism that produces eggs. ... Estriol. ...


To a large extent, women suffer from the same illnesses as men. However, there are some diseases that primarily affect women, such as lupus. Also, there are some sex-related illnesses that are found more frequently or exclusively in women, e.g., breast cancer, cervical cancer, or ovarian cancer. Women and men may have different symptoms of an illness and may also respond differently to medical treatment. This area of medical research is studied by gender-based medicine. Lupus is Latin for wolf. It may refer in English to: several diseases: Lupus erythematosus, the autoimmune disease (also known as systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE) Lupus nephritis, an inflammation caused by SLE Lupus pernio, a feature of sarcoidosis Lupus vulgaris, a feature of cutaneous tuberculosis other uses: Lupus, the... A sex-specific illness is an illness that occurs only in people of one sex. ... Breast cancer is cancer of breast tissue. ... Cervical cancer is a malignancy of the cervix. ... Ovarian cancer is a malignant ovarian neoplasm (an abnormal growth located on the ovaries). ... Gender-based medicine or simply gender medicine is the field of medicine that studies the biological and physiological differences between the human sexes and how that affects differences in disease. ...


During early fetal development, embryos of both sexes appear female; the release of testosterone is what changes the female appearance to the male.


Culture and gender roles

A Bengali or Bangladeshi woman weaving. Textile work has historically been considered a female occupation in some cultures.
A Bengali or Bangladeshi woman weaving. Textile work has historically been considered a female occupation in some cultures.

Main article: Gender role Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Bengal, known as Bôngo (Bengali: বঙ্গ), Bangla (বাংলা), Bôngodesh (বঙ্গদেশ), or Bangladesh (বাংলাদেশ) in the Bengali language, is a region in the northeast of South Asia. ... Sunday textile market on the sidewalks of Karachi, Pakistan. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ...


In many prehistoric cultures, women assumed a particular cultural role. In hunter-gatherer societies, women were generally the gatherers of plant foods, small animal foods, fish, and learned to use dairy products, while men hunted meat from large animals. Because of their intimate knowledge of plant life, most anthropologists assert that it was women who led the Neolithic Revolution and became history's first pioneers of agriculture. [citation needed] Stonehenge, England, erected by Neolithic peoples ca. ... In anthropology, the hunter-gatherer way of life is that led by certain societies of the Neolithic Era based on the exploitation of wild plants and animals. ... Anthropology (from the Greek word , human or person) consists of the study of humanity (see genus Homo). ... It has been suggested that First agricultural revolution be merged into this article or section. ...


In more recent history, the gender roles of women have changed greatly. Traditional gender roles for middle-class women typically involved domestic tasks emphasizing child care, and did not involve entering employment for wages. For poorer women, especially among the working classes, this often remained an ideal, for economic necessity has long compelled them to seek employment outside the home, although the occupations traditionally open to working-class women were lower in prestige and pay than those open to men. Eventually, restricting women from wage labor came to be a mark of wealth and prestige in a family, while the presence of working women came to mark a household as being lower-class. The middle class (or middle classes) comprises a social group once defined by exception as an intermediate social class between the nobility and the peasantry. ... The term working class is used to denote a social class. ...


The women's movement is in part a struggle for the recognition of equality of opportunity with men, and for equal rights irrespective of gender, even if special relations and conditions are willingly incurred under the form of partnership involved in marriage. The difficulties of obtaining this recognition are due to historical factors combined with the habits and customs history has produced. Through a combination of economic changes and the efforts of the feminist movement in recent decades women in most societies now have access to careers beyond the traditional one of "homemaker". Despite these advances, modern women in Western society still face challenges in the workplace as well as with the topics of education, violence, health care, politics, and motherhood, and others. Sexism can be a main concern and barrier for woman almost anywhere, though its forms, perception, and gravity varies between societies and social classes. (Sexism affects men as well, though the roles it leaves open for men are most commonly equal- or higher-status.) Equal opportunity is a descriptive term for an approach intended to give equal access to an environment or benefits, such as education, employment, health care, or social welfare to all, often with emphasis on members of various social groups which might have at some time suffered from discrimination. ... The Equal Rights Party was a Canadian political party that nominated two candidates in the 5 March 1891 federal election. ... The word gender describes the state of being male, female, or neither. ... Face-to-face trading interactions among on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor Economics, may just involve more otriches than you think social science, studies the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities. ... Feminism is a diverse collection of social theories, political movements and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerned with the experiences of women. ... A homemaker is a person whose prime occupation is to care for their family and/or home; the term is originally an American feminist phrase, but it has entered mainstream English. ... The sign of the headquarters of the National Association Opposed To Woman Suffrage Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the...


These changes and struggles are among the foci of the academic field of women's studies. Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ...


See also

Feminism is a diverse collection of social theories, political movements and moral philosophies, largely motivated by or concerned with the experiences of women. ... Gender and sexuality studies is a collective term for the interdisciplinary study of human gender and sexuality. ... A gender difference is a disparity between male and female humans. ... The shamefulness associated with the examination of female genitalia has long inhibited the science of gynaecology. ... A lesbian is a female who is exclusively emotionally, sexually, and romantically attracted to other females. ... A man is a male human. ... Matriarchy is a form of society in which power is with the women and especially with the mothers of a community. ... Misogyny () is hatred or strong prejudice against women. ... The sign of the headquarters of the National Association Opposed To Woman Suffrage Sexism is commonly considered to be discrimination and/or hatred against people based on their sex rather than their individual merits, but can also refer to any and all systemic differentiations based on the sex of the... The New Woman was a feminist ideal which emerged in the final decades of the 19th century in Europe and North America as a reaction to the role, as characterized by the so-called Cult of Domesticity, ascribed to women in the Victorian era. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Woman teaching geometry. ... The role of women in religion has only recently become a topic of research. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

References

  • Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003 3rd edition) ISBN 0-618-25414-5
  • McWhorter, John. 'The Uses of Ugliness', The New Republic Online, January 31, 2002. Retrieved May 11, 2005 ["bitch" as an affectionate term]
  • McWhorter, John. Authentically Black: Essays for the Black Silent Majority (New York: Gotham, 2003) ISBN 1-59240-001-9 [casual use of "bitch" in ebonics]

May 11 is the 131st day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (132nd in leap years). ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links

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