Later at puberty, estrogen feminizes a young woman, giving her adult sexual characteristics.
An imbalance of maternal hormonal levels and some chemicals (or drugs) may alter the secondary sexual characteristics of fetuses.
Alchemists constructed the symbol from a circle (representing spirit) above an equilateral cross (representing matter).
Mann or monn had a gender-neutral meaning of "human", corresponding to Modern English "person" or "someone"; however, subsequent to the Norman Conquest, man began to be used more in reference to "male human", and by the late 13th century had begun to eclipse usage of the older term wēr.The medial labial consonants f and m in wīfmann coalesced into the modern form "woman", while the initial element wīf, which meant "female", underwent semantic narrowing to the sense of a married woman ("wife").The breast evolved from the sweat gland to produce milk, a nutritious secretion that is the most distinctive characteristic of mammals, along with live birth.In mature women, the breast is generally more prominent than in most other mammals; this prominence, not necessary for milk production, is probably at least partially the result of sexual selection.Because humans inherit mitochondrial DNA only from the mother's ovum, genetic studies of the female line tend to focus on mitochondrial DNA.
Whether or not a child is considered female does not always determine whether or not the child later will identify themselves that way (see gender identity).
The term "womanhood" merely means the state of being a woman, having passed the menarche; "femininity" is used to refer to a set of typical female qualities associated with a certain attitude to gender roles; "womanliness" is like "femininity", but is usually associated with a different view of gender roles; "femaleness" is a general term, but is often used as shorthand for "human femaleness"; "distaff" is an archaic adjective derived from women's conventional role as a spinner, now used only as a deliberate archaism; "muliebrity" is a neologism (derived from the Latin) meant to provide a female counterpart of "virility", but used very loosely, sometimes to mean merely "womanhood", sometimes "femininity" and sometimes even as a collective term for women.
bat mitzvah in Judaism, or even just the custom of a special celebration for a certain birthday (generally between 12 and 21), like the quinceañera of Latin America.
For instance, intersex individuals, who have mixed physical and/or genetic features, may use other criteria in making a clear determination.
At birth, babies may be assigned a gender based on their genitalia.
The word woman can be used generally, to mean any female human or specifically, to mean an adult female human as contrasted with girl.