Women

Women are female human beings. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent.

 The term woman is also sometimes used to identify a female human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "women's rights”. 

Women with typical genetic development are usually capable of giving birth from puberty until menopause. 

The symbol for the planet and goddess Venus or Aphrodite in Greek is the sign also used in biology for the female sex.  It is a stylized representation of the goddess Venus's hand-mirror or an abstract symbol for the goddess: a circle with a small equilateral cross underneath. 

Gender of women

A woman may also be a person whose sex assignment does not align with their gender identity,or those who have sexual characteristics that do not fit typical notions of male or female (intersex)


Biology of women

In terms of biology, the female sex organs are involved in the reproductive system, whereas the secondary sex characteristics are involved in nurturing children or, in some cultures, attracting a mate. 

The human female reproductive system. image: wikipedia


The ovaries, in addition to their regulatory function producing hormones, produce female gametes called eggs which, when fertilized by male gametes (sperm), form new genetic individuals. 

The uterus is an organ with tissue to protect and nurture the developing fetus and muscle to expel it when giving birth. The vagina is used in copulation and birthing, although the term vagina is often colloquially and incorrectly used in the English language for the vulva or external female genitalia, which consists of (in addition to the vagina) the labia, the clitoris, and the female urethra. 

The breast evolved from the sweat gland to produce milk, a nutritious secretion that is the most distinctive characteristic of mammals, along with live birth. In mature women, the breast is generally more prominent than in most other mammals; this prominence, not necessary for milk production, is probably at least partially the result of sexual selection. 

 Fetal development

During early fetal development, embryos of both sexes appear gender-neutral. As in cases without two sexes, such as species that reproduce asexually, the gender-neutral appearance is closer to female than to male. A fetus usually develops into a male if it is exposed to a significant amount of testosterone (typically because the fetus has a Y chromosome from the father). Otherwise, the fetus usually develops into a female, typically when the fetus has an X chromosome from the father, but also when the father contributed neither an X nor Y chromosome. Later at puberty, estrogen feminizes a young woman, giving her adult sexual characteristics. 

An imbalance of maternal hormonal levels and some chemicals (or drugs) may alter the secondary sexual characteristics of fetuses. Most women have the karyotype 46,XX, but around one in a thousand will be 47,XXX, and one in 2500 will be 45,X. This contrasts with the typical male karotype of 46,XY; thus, the X and Y chromosomes are known as female and male, respectively. Because humans inherit mitochondrial DNA only from the mother's ovum, genetic studies of the female line tend to focus on mitochondrial DNA


Source adapted from: Wikipedia contributors. (2018, March 8). Woman. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:28, March 10, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Woman&oldid=829362658