Education Will Shrink a Woman’s Uterus?
At one point this was a real worry. In 1873 Edward Clark of Harvard voiced his concern. In 1889 the renowned scientist R.R. Coleman cautioned university women:
You are on the brink of destruction… Beware!! Science pronounces that the woman who studies is lost.
Scientists fretted because the more education a woman gained the fewer children she bore. They hadn’t imagined the most obvious cause: That educated women simply put off marriage and childbearing.
Who knows how many women were discouraged from education from such silly concerns.
Worries about weak minds were accompanied by worries about weak bodies: Some 19th Century doctors explained that corsets were needed because women’s bodies were too frail to adequately hold themselves up.
Uneven bars were invented for women gymnasts, who were thought to need rest between each move.
Moral of the story:
Don’t make judgments, scientific or otherwise, that assume biology lies behind social patterns and stereotypes.