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The breasts evolved from the sweat glands 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 thought to be at least partially the result of sexual selection.
Many cultures have rites of passage to symbolize a girl's coming of age, such as confirmation in some branches of Christianity, bat mitzvah in Judaism, or a custom of a special celebration for a certain birthday (generally between 12 and 21), like the quinceañera of Latin America.
Trans women are those whose sex assignment at birth was male, The ovaries, in addition to their regulatory function of producing hormones, produce female gametes called eggs which, when fertilized by male gametes (sperm), form new genetic individuals.
Throughout human history, traditional gender roles have often defined and limited women's activities and opportunities; many religious doctrines stipulate certain rules for women that are obligatory.
With restrictions loosening during the 20th century in many societies, women have gained access to careers beyond the traditional homemaker, and the ability to pursue higher education.
"Distaff" is an archaic adjective derived from women's conventional role as a spinner, now used only as a deliberate archaism.
Menarche, the onset of menstruation, occurs on average at age 12–13.
The World Health Organization writes that it is "important to note that the extra years of life for women are not always lived in good health." Until the maturation of their reproductive capabilities, the pre-pubertal physical differences between boys and girls consists of the differences in their genitalia.During early fetal development embryos of both sexes appear gender-neutral until about week 7.At that time if the fetus has received a Y chromosome from the father it usually develops into a male, an effect of being exposed to testosterone.There are various words used to refer to the quality of being a woman.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.
The word woman can be used generally, to mean any female human, or specifically, to mean an adult female human as contrasted with girl.