Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/599

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581
SCIENCE AND THE WOMAN QUESTION.

to do and fewer hands to do it with, can not possibly keep pace with his.

If, now, we may further suppose this pound of bread converted into its equivalent of thought, it is evident that a pound of bread will represent as much thought in a woman's brain as in a man's; but, as her smaller organs refuse to assimilate as fast as his, the larger organism will have a permanent advantage over the smaller one in the element of time. Any other conclusion than the one just stated implies a contradiction of the established relations of matter and force, and there is a general historic corroboration of this idea in the actual record of sex activity. Women have done something of nearly everything that men have done, but they have come later and with smaller offerings. The time-factor is one which we are bound to include in casting up our column of probabilities for the future intellectual equality of the sexes. If our facts are reliable, and the reasoning correct, it must be admitted as proved that the factor of size has given man a superiority over woman, which he will always retain while he retains his larger body and brain. The absolute gain in time which his greater size has given him can not be set aside, unless he should cease to be the medium of transformation of energy, and should wait a few centuries for woman to overtake him, as he might have waited for her to swallow her pound of bread. But even supposing such an impossibility, and granting that she should once overtake him (in the factor of time), so that the two sexes could start fairly in the race of progress, the man would immediately dart ahead again by virtue of his larger size and consequently greater capacity for transforming energy. But any such supposition as an even chance for the two sexes must remain an absurdity. Unless woman can devise some means for reducing the size of man, she must be content to revolve about him in the future as in the past. She may resist her fate, and create some aberrations in her course, but she will be held to her orbit nevertheless.

The argument from physiology has still another element of strength. The perpetuation of the human species is dependent on the function of maternity, and probably twenty per cent of the energy of women between twenty and forty years of age is diverted for the maintenance of maternity and its attendant exactions. Upon the supposition that woman's mental endowment were exactly equal to man's, the amount diverted to maternity must be continually subtracted from it, so that any original equality of intellect would certainly be lost through maternity. This diversion of power would also occur in the years of highest physical vigor. This period in man is that of most active intellectual development, because the physical basis of intellectual energy is most abundant in these years. Consequently, his period of greatest intellectual gain corresponds to her period of greatest loss.

To make this position more intelligible, let us suppose the number of men and women in the world to be exactly equal. Let us further