Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/157

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.



JUNE, 1879.



THE CONDITION OF WOMEN FROM A ZOÖLOGICAL POINT OF VIEW.
By W. K. BROOKS.
I.

ZOÖLOGY is the scientific study of the past history of animal life, for the purpose of understanding its future history. Since man has, in part at least, conscious control of his own destiny, it is of vital importance to human welfare in the future that we should learn, by this comparative study of the past, what are the lines along which progress is to be expected, and what the conditions favorable to this progress, in order that we may use our exceptional powers in harmony with the order of nature.

The study of the growth of civilization shows that human advancement has been accompanied by a slow but constant improvement in the condition of women, as compared with men, and that it may be very accurately measured by this standard. Judging from the past, we may be sure that one of the paths for the future progress of the race lies in this improvement, and the position of women must therefore be regarded as a most important social problem. If there is, as I shall try to show, a fundamental and constantly increasing difference between the sexes; if their needs are different, and if their parts in the intellectual, moral, and social evolution of the race, are, like their parts in the reproductive process, complemental, the clear recognition of this difference must form both the foundation and superstructure of all plans for the improvement of women.

If there is this fundamental difference in the sociological influence of the sexes, its origin must be sought in the physiological differences between them, although the subject is now very far removed from the province of ordinary physiology. While we fully recognize the insig-