Why are women considered less intelligent?

by January 30, 2012

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This is an unedited transcript

Answer: When Srila Prabhupada is referring to women as less intelligent that is not referring to intelligent processing ability that goes on in the name of intelligence. We can see obviously from our observation there are in some cases where women are less more intelligent than men, on the other hand this statement can also not  refer to the soul, because at the level of the soul the men and the women both are same. Where is this less intelligence coming from if it is not related at the material level and it is not related at spiritual level, where it is related with ? Actually it is related with the interaction between the material and the spiritual level.

In the vedic culture , intelligence is the ability to differentiate between matter and spirit  and intelligence begins by understanding that I am not the body , i am the soul. So this bodily misidentification is strong for everyone in the material world , both men and women. But in general it is stronger for women because women has a form that is attractive and alluring to man and to a large extent for a women if she is not spiritually minded , her sense of self identity, her self worth comes largely from her bodily form. In that case, to understand that the self is not the body, is that much more difficult . So the misidentification of spirit with matter is much stronger when he spirit is interact in a female body. And another aspect of this misidentification with the female body is that the female body leads to the excess of emotionality than compared to rationality . So in general women are more emotional and men are more rational . So to some extent by rational philosophy, by exercising our rational faculty one can understand philosophy . So in that sense male body is more suitable for understanding philosophy. This is a general principle, it may not apply to all specific cases , and in that sense even the capacity to be over whelmed by emotions is greater  in the case of women, of course this is not necessarily a disadvantage for the function of women as a mother the capacity to experience emotion is vital . In fact very often children behave in rational ways, and if women who were to act as mothers were to see their children only through rational spectacles, then they would not be able to offer the kind of unconditional love that they have to offer to the children, at least in their formative years. So the profuse emotions that the female body enables the soul to experience   is a blessing to help that soul perform the function of  a mother. Now women can have two roles, one is as objects of temptations, or they can be mothers , they can be the source of shelter . So in the vedic culture the second role is emphasized and glorified , that women are not source of sexuality but of maternity. they are shelters not of  motherhood. So when this aspect is emphasized then the emotionality of women can be used to , for care of the family members, specially the children, and it can help them to grow, and if the women becomes a devotee, then her emotionality can help her to experience devotional emotions and pass on those emotions and impressions to the children . So in this way if women functions as mothers primarily then whatever may be the weakness of the particular kind of body that they have , that weakness does not harm them, rather it helps them  and it helps them , help others. In contrast the modern society downplays and to some extent even denies the maternal aspect of the women, and it over hikes the sexual aspect of women. So this leads to increase the bodily consciousness among women and among men. So that’s why when the bodily misidentification increases , that is the sign of less intelligence. So the idea that women are les intelligent is not to restrict them into capacity and potentials or to degrade them, but it is to basically recognize the different bodies gives us different kinds of limitations and endowments, and to minimize the harm caused by the limitations and to maximize the benefit that comes from the endowment. The social order  in which the women were primarily the mothers and not allurers , was what was the standard in the vedic culture, and what is recommended even today in the spiritual culture. The modern society by treating women primarily as sex symbols may give women more freedom and more attention, but that freedom and attention doesn’t lead to greater respect and security .  It actually leads to greater insecurity and greater deeper depersonalization. When a women is seen just as a sex symbol, is not really being seen as a person, is seen as an object. So it is depersonalizing, dehumanizing view, and when women are trained to be primarily sex symbols then when the sex appeal and the body decreases ,as it would happen in few years , inevitably , then the whole sense of self worth of a women is lost. But if a women’s self worth is coming from identifying herself as a mother , then a women cannot be a sex symbol through out her life, she can always be a mother throughout her life. And that is why the maternal role of the mother should be emphasized and the sexual role   should be minimized. That’s what the vedic culture does. And the less intelligence is not something to minimize or exploit women, but to protect and cherish women so that their spirituality can also be developed in a way that is beneficial for the full society and beneficial for themselves. thankyou

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  • kiran kumar epari
    March 16, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Very, very true and wonderfully explained..in general women are more body-conscious and of their feminity than the men’s consciousness.. May be its because of how the women are looked at by men in general..

  • October 26, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Brillint response. The best i have read so far. But again the question arises- Isnt a woman made to feel concious about her looks by a man? In todays “indian marriage market” external beauty is the first marketable asset.

    • Chaitanya Charan das
      June 3, 2016 at 8:08 pm

      Yes, but then that’s the very nature of material existence, where we all aggravate each other’s illusion and bondage because of our material consciousness. In the marriage mart – not just in India, but everywhere else too – a man’s salary is often his first marketable asset.

  • keshav kashmiri
    June 3, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Hare krishna prabhu

    Actually ,even srila prabhupada have been very sensitive on this matter. The concept of less intelligence of women should not be stressed for the devotees who are krishna conscious. There is one incident of srila prabhupada being very cordial on this matter. It is as follows:

    Room Conversation about Marriage — September 24, 1968, Seattle:

    “Prabhupāda: Sometimes… Of course, sometimes scripture we say that “Woman is the cause of bondage.” So that should not be, I mean to say, aggravated. (laughs) That should not be aggravated, that “Woman is inferior,” or something like that. So the girls who come, you should treat them nicely, at least. I heard that Gargamuni, after his wife left him, he became a woman-hater like that. (chuckles) That is not good. You see? Yes. After all, anyone who is coming to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, man or woman, boys or girls, they are welcome. They are very fortunate.”

  • Suparna Basak
    March 15, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Yes prabhiji very true, that is the reason why women spend more time before the mirror beautifying her face and hairstyles using cosmetic products. Unfortunately , society looks down and undermines an ugly looking women…whereas a beautiful women commands more respect and attention. That’s why this heavy body-consciousness still prevails among women in general.
    Thank 3

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