Inferior is a stunning book about the science of the difference between the sexes. Where there is scientific evidence for differences, where more evidence is required, and importantly, where scientists have allowed societal beliefs about women to cloud their scientific judgement about sex differences.
Reading Inferior will probably make you frustrated, annoyed and unfortunately, not surprised. If you are anything like me, you will be highlighting furiously and telling everyone you meet about what you’ve just read.
For centuries, scientists have influenced decision-makers on important issues including abortion rights, granting women the vote, and how schools educate us. They have shaped how we think about our minds and bodies, and our relationships with each other. And of course, we trust scientists to give us the objective facts. We believe that what science offers is a story free from prejudice. It is the story of us, starting from the very dawn of evolution. Yet when it comes to women, so much of this story is wrong.
It covers a wide range of topics: where scientists beliefs have clouded their science, the ignoring of women in some entire areas of science (e.g. evolutionary biology), drug testing almost exclusively on men, science used as another way of controlling women, and beliefs about women’s inferiority being used to deny women education and positions of power and responsibility. It also covers how once women were given access to carrying out scientific research, their results were often credited to men. And so much more… I mean, Marie Curie, with her Nobel prize in physics and her Nobel prize in chemistry couldn’t join France’s Academy of Sciences in 1911 because she was a woman. And Harvard Medical School only started admitting women in 1945.
I would say everyone who is a woman, or knows a woman should read this book. Thank you Angela Saini for writing Inferior. I loved it!
P.S. I was provided with a copy of Inferior to review by NetGalley.