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(Redirected from Women)
Image of a woman on the Pioneer plaque sent to outer space.
Image of a woman on the Pioneer plaque sent to outer space.

A woman is an adult female human being, as contrasted to an adult male, which is a man. The term woman (irregular plural: women) is used to indicate Censored page distinctions, cultural gender role distinctions, or both. Womanhood is the period in a female's life after she has transitioned from a girl.

A girl is a female human child, as contrasted to a male child, which is a boy. The term girl is used to indicate biological sex distinctions, cultural gender role distinctions, or both. After she matures, a girl becomes known as a woman, with certain colloquial exceptions (see terms, below).

The very word woman, etymologically meaning a wife (or the wife division of the human race, the female of the species Homo), sums up a long history of dependence and subordination, from which the women of today have only gradually emancipated themselves in such parts of the world as come under Western civilization. Though married life and its duties necessarily form a predominant element in the womans sphere, they are not necessarily the whole of it; and the womans movement is essentially a struggle for the recognition of equality of opportunity with men, and for equal rights irrespective of Censored page, even if special relations and conditions are willingly incurred under the form of partnership involved in marriage. The difficulties of obtaining this recognition are obviously due to historical causes combined with the habits and customs which history has produced.



In terms of Censored page, women have various sexual characteristics that differentiate them from men. In women, the Censored pages are involved in the reproductive system, whereas the Censored page are involved in attracting a mate or nurturing children. 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

The Naked Maja, painting by Francisco Goya.
The Naked Maja, painting by Francisco Goya.

Although fewer females than males are born (the ratio is around 1:1.05), women make up the majority of the adult population. This is because males of all ages have a slightly higher death rate (even in the womb) and women live, on average, five years longer than men. This is thought to be a result of a combination of factors: genetics (redundant and varied genes present on Censored pages in women); sociology (such as military service); health-impacting choices (such as 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.

After the onset of menarche, most women are able to become pregnant and bear children. The study of female reproduction and Censored pages is called gynaecology. Women generally reach menopause in their late 40s or early 50s, at which point they can no longer become pregnant.

In general, women suffer from the same illnesses as men; however there are some Censored pagees that are found more commonly or exclusively in women.

Biological factors are usually the sole determinants of whether persons are considered woman or not; some women can have abnormal hormonal or chromosomal differences (such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia or other conditions). There are also those who are Censored page or considers themselves to be female despite lack of female physiology (Censored pageed or Censored page women). (See gender identity.)

Legal rights of women historically

See article legal rights of women.

Gender roles

Main article: gender role

Gender roles of women have changed greatly in history. 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. Through a combination of economic changes and the efforts of the feminist movement in recent decades, however, women in most societies now have access to careers beyond the traditional one of "homemaker". These changes are among the foci of the academic field of women's studies.


While the literal definition of the word girl is "female child," girl is also often used colloquially to refer to a young or unmarried woman. Since the early 1970s, feminists have challenged such usage, and today, using the word in the workplace (as in office girl) is typically considered Censored page in the United States because it implies a view of women as infantile. The use remains commonplace in several other English-speaking countries.

Conversely, in certain non-Western 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 can, in such a culture, imply that she is sexually experienced, which would be an insult to her family.

In more informal settings, the use of girl to refer to an adult female is also common practice in certain usage (such as girls' night out), even among elderly women. In this sense, girl may be considered to be the analogue to guy or bloke for a man (the latter being rare in American English). Some regard non-parallel usages, such as men and girls, as offensive.


There are also many slang terms to refer to women; these have existed throughout history, and change over time. Some of those common in contemporary usage are:

  • Bird: primarily a Britishism, some women see it as demeaning. Others celebrate it with events such as "hen parties ".
  • Chick: literally a young chicken or (more broadly) a young bird of any kind, this term is mildly offensive to some women who understand it as infantalizing or objectifying; it is chiefly an Americanism. It is sometimes claimed that the usage derives from the Spanish chica (girl), but neither the Oxford English Dictionary nor Merriam-Webster supports this derivation. (The word chick was used in a gender-neutral sense to mean "human child" at least as early as the fourteenth century.) The popularity of the usage in North America may, nonetheless, be due in part to its similarity to the Spanish word.
  • Sister: a term which women rarely use when addressing each other; it is associated with, although by no means exclusive to, African American idiom. The same term is used within feminism, and also in the Censored page community in referring to other transsexuals.

Several older, mildly pejorative terms which men formerly employed for women in general, such as broad or skirt, are now archaic, and rarely encountered.

Authors often create new euphemisms or other terms to refer to women, an example being the use of the word burger on the American television sitcom The Cosby Show to refer to an attractive female. Science fiction fandom has also adapted terms from literature, film, and television, including Husnock, a strongly pejorative term derived from the name of an alien race in a Star Trek series.

Vulgar terms

In some cultural groups, terms considered extremely offensive to most women (e.g., bitch, Censored page, or ho) are used to refer to women in general. Many terms which refer to women's physical appearance (e.g., hottie, a sexually-attractive woman) see wide use, but many consider them to imply sexual objectification, although many women use hunk to describe an equivalent man.

See also

External links

  • FemBio - Notable Women International

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations by or about Woman

Wikimedia Commons has multimedia related to Woman .

Last updated: 02-07-2005 20:50:53
Last updated: 02-27-2005 18:53:34