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

Men are mutants, as we know.  XY chromosomes are a mutation from XX (women), and this may explain part of the mystery as to why women live longer than men despite having everything stacked against them (society, childbirthing, higher pain tolerance). The flexibility of women’s immune system with fluctuations during menstruation may also contribute.

The book exposes Darwin’s sexism, the terribleness of drug trials (it’s cheaper to only study one sex—men—to the detriment to women’s health), various researchers’ obsession with proving that women are inferior (size of brain, which, if it were to matter to intelligence would make elephants/whales the dominant species), debunking lots of myths along the way and showing how social constructs effect EVERYTHING.

The sex ratio in India is skewed in favor of boys more than it was 10 years ago—7M fewer girls than boys aged 6 or younger. Yikes. But boys are actually statistically more at risk of dying than girls, which makes this stat even more staggering, the willful destruction of girl babies. “The biological risk is against the boy, but the social risk is against the girl,” says Joy Lawn, a director at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The book dabbles in this and that, blowing up the theory that men are better, smarter, etc. and pointing out the sociological ways that women are handicapped. “It isn’t just supreme feats of learning or traumatic experiences that affect the brain but more subtle and prolonged things, too, like the way girls and women are treated by society.”

Brain scans were all the rage when they hit the scene, but Gina Rippon cautions against them. “Every brain is different from every other brain. We should take more of a fingerprint type of approach.”

Mary Wollstonecraft’s quote from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1792, is apt: “It cannot be demonstrated that woman is essentially inferior to man because she has always been subjugated.”