In 2001, I published a novel set in the Minoan world of the Bronze Age (Voice of the Goddess). To promote the book I gave a talk entitled "If Women Ran the World, How Might Things Be Different." My point, drawn from my background in biology and anthropology, was that the Minoan's sophisticated, state-level society appears to have been remarkably lacking in violence—no violent acts are depicted on any of their numerous art artifacts or paintings. They probably ran their affairs much as the Norwegians, Icelanders, Costa Ricans, or Swiss do today: rejectors of war.
Those same artifacts indicate that this was a culture where women were respected and powerful leaders. In talks I would say, "women, in general, are biologically different from men, in general, because women have an evolved suite of behavioral inclinations that strongly foster social stability and, that includes avoiding war."
I eventually went on to write Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, my first attempt to explain, from the perspective of an evolutionary biologist, why women have evolved stability-fostering preferences. Other books and essays followed that include explorations of this same issue: Shift: The Beginning of War, The Ending of War; War and Sex and Human Destiny; and A Future Without War.
This explanation for why women, in general, have some psychological traits that differ from men in ways relating to conflict resolution and caring for community DOES have to do with raising children, but not in the way most people think. Most people think that women are more nurturing…women are NOT by nature more nurturing than men: they can be bad mothers, and a lot of learning goes into being a good mother. Moreover, men who bond early with their offspring can be equally nurturing. It is an evolved deep-seated preference for social stability that guides many of women's social choices.
In Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace I also described:
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Dr. Judith Hand writes historical fiction, contemporary action/adventure, and screenplays. Hand earned her Ph.D. in biology from UCLA. Her studies included animal behavior and primatology. After completing a Smithsonian Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she returned to UCLA as a research associate and lecturer. Her undergraduate major was in cultural anthropology. She worked as a technician in neurophysiology laboratories at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute, in Munich, Germany. As a student of animal communication, she has written scientific papers on the subject of social conflict resolution.
Astronomy image credit: NASA: Full Hemisphere Views of Earth at Night.