Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story

by Angela Saini


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What science has gotten so shamefully wrong about women, and the fight, by both female and male scientists, to rewrite what we thought we knew

For hundreds of years it was common sense: women were the inferior sex. Their bodies were weaker, their minds feebler, their role subservient. No less a scientist than Charles Darwin asserted that women were at a lower stage of evolution, and for decades, scientists—most of them male, of course—claimed to find evidence to support this.

Whether looking at intelligence or emotion, cognition or behavior, science has continued to tell us that men and women are fundamentally different. Biologists claim that women are better suited to raising families or are, more gently, uniquely empathetic. Men, on the other hand, continue to be described as excelling at tasks that require logic, spatial reasoning, and motor skills. But a huge wave of research is now revealing an alternative version of what we thought we knew. The new woman revealed by this scientific data is as strong, strategic, and smart as anyone else.

In Inferior, acclaimed science writer Angela Saini weaves together a fascinating—and sorely necessary—new science of women. As Saini takes readers on a journey to uncover science’s failure to understand women, she finds that we’re still living with the legacy of an establishment that’s just beginning to recover from centuries of entrenched exclusion and prejudice. Sexist assumptions are stubbornly persistent: even in recent years, researchers have insisted that women are choosy and monogamous while men are naturally promiscuous, or that the way men’s and women’s brains are wired confirms long-discredited gender stereotypes.

As Saini reveals, however, groundbreaking research is finally rediscovering women’s bodies and minds. Inferior investigates the gender wars in biology, psychology, and anthropology, and delves into cutting-edge scientific studies to uncover a fascinating new portrait of women’s brains, bodies, and role in human evolution.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807010037
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication date: 03/06/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 113,365
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Angela Saini is an award-winning science journalist whose print and broadcast work has appeared on the BBC and in the Guardian, New Scientist, Wired, the Economist, and Science. A former Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, she won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Kavli Science Journalism gold award in 2015. Saini has a master’s in engineering from Oxford University, and she is the author of Geek Nation: How Indian Science Is Taking Over the World.

Table of Contents


Woman’s Inferiority to Man

Females Get Sicker but Males Die Quicker

A Difference at Birth

The Missing Five Ounces of the Female Brain

Women’s Work

Choosy, Not Chaste

Why Men Dominate

The Old Women Who Wouldn’t Die


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Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It successfully counters so much flawed research that has attempted to separate men's and women's abilities and therefore support the status quo of women's social subordination. Debunking bad science with good science, the author shoots down much of what has become common "knowledge" about how men's and women's brains work, and other topics. The only quibble I have is that the book repeats the fallacy that male dominance in human societies is universal - it is not! But the author does at least hold out hope that we can change this situation since male dominance is neither genetically not evolutionarily ordained.