Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 82.djvu/601

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597
STATISTICAL STUDY OF EMINENT WOMEN

The curves are similar during the period of Greek supremacy. The male curve for the Roman period is much more regular than the female. The last half century of the pre-Christian era which produced more eminent Roman men than any other, produced but one eminent Eoman woman. The lines cross for the first time in the second half of the third century after Christ. From the sixth to the eleventh century the number of women equals or exceeds the number of men. With few exceptions, the eminent women of these centuries are sovereigns, abbesses and saints, or belong to the groups "Marriage" and "Birth." If the eminent women were selected as rigidly as the eminent men, the position of the curves through these centuries would undoubtedly be reversed. Of the later period, Professor Cattell writes,

In our curve there are three noticeable breaks. . . . Thus, in the fourteenth century there was a pause followed by a gradual improvement and an extraordinary fruition at the end of the fifteenth century. . . . There was then a pause in progress until a century later England and France took the lead. . . . The latter part of the seventeenth century was a sterile period, followed by a revival culminating in the French Revolution.

If we except the first half of the sixteenth century, when the male curve fell and the female rose, the identical words might have been written of the eminent women. Whatever the factors in these centuries that cooperated to produce genius, they were effective in both sexes, though to a lesser degree in the one than in the other.

The 868 eminent women are natives of forty-two different nations. England has furnished eight more distinguished women than France. Germany ranks third with 114; America, only two centuries old, is fourth. Italy produced 60, Rome 41, Austria 24, and Spain 23, eminent women. Russia claims 20, Sweden 16, Greece 15 and Scotland 14. Twelve of the eminent women belong to the Byzantine Empire, 11 to Holland, and 9 to Ireland. Twenty-seven nations each produced fewer than ten eminent women.

The relative number of women of ability produced by England, France, Germany, America and Italy, at different periods, is shown in Curve II. In the fifteenth century, France and Italy were leading in the number of eminent women. By the beginning of the sixteenth century France was declining and England had surpassed them both. But England had a subsequent fall, and France a rapid rise, at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Later in the century, France declined again; England gained; the German curve rose rapidly; and the Italian remained very low. Of the five modern nations which have contributed the largest number of eminent women, France is the only one for whom the incomplete records of the nineteenth century show a decline in the number of eminent women over the eighteenth century. We quote as peculiarly applicable what Professor Cattell said regarding the eminent men: