The word “woman” is believed to have derived from the Middle English term wyfman, broken down simply as the wife (wyf) of man. In Old English,
women were described simply as wyf, while the term man was used to describe a human person, regardless of gender.c
The English word “girl” was initially used to describe a young person of either sex. It was not until the beginning of the sixteenth century that
the term was used specifically to describe a female child.
The biological sign for the female sex, a circle placed on top of a small cross, is also the symbol for the planet Venus. The symbol is believed to be
a stylized representation of the Roman goddess Venus’ hand mirror.d
While many stars and moons are christened with female names, Venus is the only planet in our solar system given the name of a female goddess.
The breasts of human women are much larger in proportion than those of other female mammals. The prominent size, while not necessary for milk
production, is most likely a result of sexual selection
The English language originally delineated between women in different stages of life with the terms “maiden,” “mother,” and “crone.” A
maiden referred to a young girl who was unmarried, a mother referred to a woman in her child-bearing years, and a crone described a post-menopausal
The average height of a woman in the U.S. is approximately 5 feet 4 inches, and the average weight is about 163 pounds. These figures vary greatly
throughout the world, due to differences in nutrition and prenatal care.
In almost every country worldwide, the life expectancy for women is higher than for men.g
While the population of males is slightly greater than females worldwide (98.6 women for every 100 men), there are roughly four million more women
than men in the U.S. In the age 85-and-older category, there are more than twice as many women as men currently living in the U.S.
The most common cause of death for American women is heart disease, which causes just over 27% of all mortalities in females. Cancer ranks just below,
causing 22% of female deaths.
Worldwide, women are nearly twice as likely to be blind or visually impaired as men. Experts attribute this difference to the greater longevity of
women (leading to more age-related visual impairment) and specific eye diseases that are intrinsically more common in women such as dry eye syndrome
and Fuch’s Dystrophy.
Depression is the most common cause of disability in women, and approximately 25% of all women will experience severe depression at some point in
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