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Inferior

How Science Got Women Wrong - and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story
Narrated by: Hannah Melbourn
Length: 7 hrs and 31 mins
Categories: Nonfiction, Gender Issues
4.5 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners 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.

©2017 Angela Saini (P)2017 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"In this smart, balanced, and wonderfully readable book, Angela Saini breaks the vicious cycle by which women, having been excluded from the sciences by men who assumed them to be inferior, were judged by those same male scientists to be inferior. Study by study, she objectively reexamines what we think we know about the supposed differences between the sexes. If you have ever been shouted down by a male colleague who insists that science has proven women to be biologically inferior to men, here are the arguments you need to demonstrate that he doesn't know what he is talking about." (Eileen Pollack, author of The Only Woman in the Room)
"Angela Saini's Inferior proves the opposite of its title. It is a lively, well-written, informed account of women's proven powers. She shows that science, long used as a weapon against women, is today an ally in their steady advance. Inferior is another nail in the coffin of male supremacy." (Melvin Konner, author of Women After All)
"This is an important book that I hope will be widely read. Any time biases are identified and corrected for, it is science and policymaking rather than feminism or any particular ideology that comes out ahead." (Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, author of The Woman That Never Evolved, Mother Nature, and Mothers and Others)

What members say

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  • Overall
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simply brilliant

Tears apart misogyny to reveal the truth about women -- we're not inferior to men and this book does a wonderful job explaining why. The narration make this a very pleasant and engaging listen

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Amazing

Fascinating. I'll probably listen to this one 3-4 times. A nice update from Cordelia Fine's Gender Delusions. Keep that science coming, ladies!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A Great Read for Most Women

The book goes through all the stages of a woman's life and describes all the ways in which science has failed to recognize women through willful ignorance or systemic gender bias. I enjoyed it overall. It's always good to take a step back an evaluate why the status quo is the status quo and how we got here and how we can forge a new path for the next generation of women. Narration was good quality. #Tagsgiving #STEMinist

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Stellar scientific journalism

I was very impressed by the sheer volume of quotes and interviews from the very scientists whose work is discussed in the book, on both sides of the aisle.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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need to memorize

I need to memorize this book because I see the arguments she counters made constantly online and sometimes in speech. We need to stop so desperately grasping at "science" for sex differences as if it meant anything.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good, but I wish she covered more topics

Very interesting, but I feel more areas of women and science could have been covered.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful