Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 7, pp 482-491

First online:

Can Darwinian Feminism Save Female Autonomy and Leadership in Egalitarian Society?

  • Griet VandermassenAffiliated withCentre for Gender Studies, Department of English, Ghent University Email author 

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As a Darwinian feminist I welcome any attempt at correcting the historical neglect of women’s roles in human evolution, as Rebecca J. Hannagan (2008, in this issue) does in her paper “Gendered Political Behavior: A Darwinian Feminist Approach.” There is much to be said for the view that women’s political agency in foraging societies has systematically been underestimated, due to a combination of researcher bias and the lesser visibility of women’s political strategies. As a feminist Darwinian, however, I must conclude that wishful thinking seems to have led Hannagan into overestimating the degree of female autonomy and leadership in these societies.


Darwinian feminism Gender Politics Autonomy Leadership Egalitarian society