Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present

By Sue V. Rosser | Go to book overview

Religion

MURIEL LEDERMAN

Religion has long been a force guiding understanding of the humanities’ place in the universe. As science became another such force, the two have sometimes clashed and have sometimes complemented each other. Margaret Wertheim (1997) argues that mathematics and physics, the underpinnings of contemporary science, are religious enterprises. Thus, the tenets of both spheres differentially affect men and women; since religion has been historically overwhelmingly male, it should be no surprise that the physical sciences are androcentric and more easily available to men.


Antiquity—Enlightenment

The science of the Greeks placed values on numbers, with the number one being male, heavenly, and immaterial, while the number two was female, earthy, and material, a dichotomy whose influence is felt even today. In medieval times, science and mathematics were practiced in seminaries, which often were headed by an abbess alone or by an abbess and abbot together and were sites of study and scholarship for both men and women. However, two factors worked to remove women from power as heads of these institutions. In the sixth century, Pope Gregory I required celibacy among the clergy to ensure that church property was not split among the heirs of married priests. Charlemagne and other secular rulers of European nations co-opted the churches to consolidate their power. In both cases, monasteries and seminaries became training grounds for those who led the government and the military, and women were prevented from participating. Since women were excluded from these seats of learning, they were consequently excluded from the universities that were their successors.

When natural philosophy emerged in the Enlightenment, it seemed to be quite separate from religion. The universe was seen as a giant mechanism, whose major metaphor was a clock, exemplified by the planetary clock at the

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Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chronological Section- Changes in Myths of Gender over Time 1
  • Antiquity 3
  • Medieval Era 17
  • Renaissance 31
  • The 18th Century 43
  • The 19th Century 61
  • Early 20th Century 79
  • Thematic Section- Concepts of Gender in Different Contexts 93
  • Disciplines - Chemistry 95
  • Physics/Astronomy 103
  • Mathematics 109
  • Computer Science 115
  • Biology 123
  • Psychology 129
  • Medicine 135
  • Technology 141
  • Aspects of Human Biology and Behavior - The Brain 149
  • Cognitive Abilities 155
  • Mental Illness 161
  • Personality/Rationality/Emotionality 167
  • Endocrinology and Hormones 173
  • Menstruation/Menopause/PMS 177
  • Early Modern Health 181
  • Gender/Sex—How Conjoined 187
  • Homosexuality 193
  • Race 201
  • Nature/Nurture 207
  • Institutions - Women’s Education 213
  • Motherhood 223
  • Religion 229
  • Universities 235
  • Federal Agencies 249
  • Industry 259
  • Professional Societies 263
  • Discrimination 273
  • Women Scientists as Leaders 283
  • Nobel Laureates 295
  • Gender and Occupational Interests 319
  • Other Perspectives on Gender and Myths and Beliefs in Scientific Research - Feminist Philosophy of Science 325
  • Biologists Who Study Gender/Feminism 337
  • Historians of Science and Technology Who Focus on Feminism 347
  • Primatologists Who Focus on Females/Gender 357
  • Critiques of Science 365
  • Marxism/Socialism and Feminism/Gender 373
  • Ecofeminism 381
  • Cyberfeminism 387
  • Race, Postcolonial Gender, and Science 393
  • Feminist Science Studies 399
  • Women’s Health Movement 405
  • Science Fiction 419
  • Conclusion 427
  • Appendix of- Statistical Tables 437
  • Glossary 445
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 481
  • About the Editor 501
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