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A woman /ˈwʊmən/, pl: women /ˈwɪmɨn/ is a female human. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent. However, the term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as “women’s rights”. Women are typically capable of giving birth from puberty onwards, though older women who have gone through menopause and some intersex women cannot. Throughout history women have assumed various social roles in occupation. In some cultures, a majority of women have adopted specific appearances, such as those regulated by dress codes.
Contents [hide]
1 Etymology
1.1 Biological symbol
2 Terminology
3 History
4 Biology and gender
5 Health
6 Reproductive rights and freedom
7 Culture and gender roles
7.1 Violence against women
8 Clothing, fashion and dress codes
9 Fertility and family life
10 Religion
11 Education
11.1 Literacy
11.2 OECD countries
11.2.1 Education
11.2.2 Jobs
12 Women in politics
13 Science, literature and art
14 See also
15 References
16 Further reading
17 External links
Etymology

The spelling of woman in English has progressed over the past millennium from wīfmann[1] to wīmmann to wumman, and finally, the modern spelling woman.[2] In Old English, wīfmann meant “female human”, whereas wēr meant “male human”. Mann or monn had a gender-neutral meaning of “human”, corresponding to Modern English “person” or “someone”, however subsequent to the Norman Conquest, man began to be used more in reference to “male human”, and by the late 1200s had begun to eclipse usage of the older term wēr.[3] The medial labial consonants f and m in wīfmann coalesced into the modern form “woman”, while the initial element, which meant “female”, underwent semantic narrowing to the sense of a married woman (“wife”). It is a popular misconception that the term “woman” is etymologically connected with “womb”, which is from a separate Old English word, wambe meaning “stomach” (of male or female). Nevertheless, such a false derivation of “woman” has appeared in print.[4]
A very common Indo-European root for woman, *gwen-, is the source of modern English “queen” (Old English cwēn had primarily meant woman, highborn or not; this is still the case in Danish, with the modern spelling kvinde, as well as in Swedish kvinna and Norwegian kvinne). The word gynaecology is also derived from the Ancient Greek cognate γυνή gynē, woman. Other English words traceable to the same Indo-European root include banshee “fairy woman” (from Irish bean “woman” and sí “fairy”) and zenana (from Persian زن zan).[5]
The Latin fēmina, whence female, is likely from the root in fellāre (to suck), in reference to breastfeeding. [6]
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