The Civil Writer Magazine

Society often uses loosely the term woman to describe all females. Woman has two meanings, wife (wo) a woman acting in a specified capacity and man. "Wo-"comes from the Old English ("wifmon" means wife-man) unconnected with marriage or a husband/wife, as preserved in words such as "midwife" and "fishwife".

When does the extension (man) comes into the definition of a wo-man? When her gender constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes are considered appropriate for a man. The words woman and lady are terms of respect for a mature female but neither should be used loosely.

We understand the definition of woman from the aforementioned description meaning wife

(not marriage) and man. Lady on the other-hand is a term of respect for a mature woman, the equivalent of gentleman. Once used to describe only women of a high social class or status, the female equivalent of lord, now it may refer to any adult woman. In the 1950s my mother was in her early 20s when she married my father. He moved her and their 2 children to Los Angeles. She was a young wife upon arrival but sometime thereafter she had to become a wo(man) when his actions of abandonment took place and it required her role, behaviour, activities, and attributes that were considered appropriate for a man was necessary for her to survive on the streets of LA with children.

A young lady coming out of college doesn't meet the definition of woman if she is not meeting society's definition of a Male by her role, behaviours, and activities used to advance herself and a family. Yes, she can be a lady of a high social class or status because how she carrie's herself but the emphasis of a woman is to performs the role of a (man) meaning wife and a man if her husband doesn't or can't perform the roles of a man because he is physically, emotionally or mentally incapable of doing so. What if she is divorced or widowed? Those positions can and often do make a woman because the emphasis is on being a man when required.