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Angela Saini

Beacon Press

24 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA 02210

9780807071700, $25.95, HC, 224pp,

Synopsis: 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.

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.

In "Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story", Angela Saini weaves together a fascinating (and long overdue) perspective of women through uncovering science's systemic failure to understand women. Why we are 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.

Critique: Once of the most unique, informative, thoughtful, thought-provoking, and groundbreaking gender biased studies available today, "Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story" is a work of truly substantial scholarship that is of immense value to scholarship, while fully accessible for the non-specialist general reader in tone, commentary, organization and presentation. An essential, cored addition for both community and academic library Women's Issues, Women's History, and Gender Studies collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that "Inferior" is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $16.99).

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Title Annotation:Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong-and the New Research That's Rewriting the Story
Author:Cowper, Mary
Publication:MBR Bookwatch
Article Type:Book review
Date:Aug 1, 2017
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