Skip to main content
20:00 – 21:30

Aletta Jacobs Hall
Blauwborgje 4

€4,- / €2,- with SG-card / free for students


What Apes Can Teach Us About Gender
Frans de Waal - SOLD OUT!

Is gender a human social construct or are there also learned gender roles in great apes? On the basis of his observations in great apes, primatologist Frans de Waal speaks about gender and sex in animals and humans. Using chimpanzees and bonobos to illustrate this point—two ape relatives that are genetically equally close to humans—de Waal challenges widely held beliefs about masculinity and femininity, and common assumptions about authority, leadership, cooperation, competition, filial bonds, and sexual behavior. What gender roles are found in the animal kingdom and how do those roles come about? Can we humans learn something from gender in animals?

Frans de Waal is a world-renowned biologist and professor of Psychology at Emory University in Atlanta. He wrote a number of books related to his work as a primatologist, some of his best-selling books include Bonobo: The Forgotten Ape, The Age of Empathy and Mama’s Last Hug. In his most recent book Different: What Apes Can Teach Us About Gender (2022), De Waal draws on decades of observation and studies of both human and animal behavior to argue that despite the linkage between gender and biological sex, biology does not automatically support the traditional gender roles in human societies. While humans and other primates exhibit some behavioral differences between the sexes, biology offers no justification for existing gender inequalities.

Moderator: Tina Kretschmer. Kretschmer is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Behavourial and Social Studies of the University of Groningen. Her research focuses on the role of social context (family, peers) en genetic factors for child and adolescent development.

Organised by Van der Velde Boeken and Studium Generale Groningen. After the lecture, Van der Waal will sign his books in the Van der Velde book stand.

Note: this programme will not be recorded and there will be no live stream available.

See also

Frans de Waal

Empathie - het vermogen om de emoties van anderen te kunnen meevoelen en de situatie van anderen te begrijpen - is een zeer oude verworvenheid die zich in ons lichaam én in onze

Michael Tomasello
On the Origins of Culture and Cognition

Why do the minds and societies of apes and humans differ as much as they do? Simply saying that humans are more intelligent does not yet explain how this situation evolved.

Jonathan Israel

Some scholars believe the Enlightenment began with eighteenth-century French philosophers such as Voltaire and Rousseau, whereas others trace its origins to England and to Newto