Universal ‘wisdom’ about women

Discussing proverbs about what it means to be a man or a woman contributes to building bridges across cultures. This website makes cross-cultural searches possible and easy.

Proverbs provide us with an intriguing cross-cultural history of humanity, a history that has to do with all of us, in its bewildering views of men and women. People tend to believe that cultures are mainly marked by differences, but there are striking global resemblances in people's proverbial thinking about women as mothers and daughters, widows, mothers-in-law, and so forth. Are such cross-cultural similarities in ideas, and even in images, just coincidental?

To answer that question, Mineke Schipper collected, over the past fifteen years, proverbs about women (which are no less eloquent about men). She examined thousands of proverbs originating from all continents, and wrote a book about this topic.