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Inferior by Angela Saini

PUBLISHED BY 4TH ESTATE
REVIEW BY CALLIE STEVEN

How different are men and women, really? How much is biological and how much social? Regardless of your stance in the ‘gender wars’, this book presents compelling evidence that bias among scientists has had an adverse effect on how our society understands gender. This thoroughly researched and fascinating book draws on decades of science to examine gender difference.

Inferior begins with a disbelieving question from an audience member at a book talk: “Where are all the women scientists? Where are the women Nobel Prize winners?” Does the female absence in these areas mean that women are rubbish at science? Saini became determined to find out and has here examined numerous scientific studies into sex difference – and found some startling results.

Eminently readable, Saini discusses numerous studies about birth rates, longevity, dominance, brain size and levels of sexual desire. She cites as far back as Darwin (who proved very sexist indeed), to the biological difference in sex chromosomes and how they impact on disease. In the end, it all comes down to re-examining the science and seeing what has been produced by the patriarchal culture – and what might actually be supported by biology.

This is not simply a ‘science is sexist, women are great’ diatribe; it's a critical and examined study of scientific evidence. To what could be a dry scientific study, Saini has added depth and vibrancy, creating a sort of narrative from early scientific study all the way to today. While not an exhaustive book on all theories of gender difference, this is a great place to start and has a huge amount of references at the back of the book for anyone interested. It’s a must read for those keen to understand science and the study of gender.

 

Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.