Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
How we cite our quotes:
"I know this: The wickedness of men is that their power breeds stupidity and blindness," she said.
"And of women?"
"Women are weaker, but their weakness is full of cunning and an equally rigid moral certainty. Since their arena is smaller, their capacity for real damage is less alarming. Though being more intimate they are the more treacherous." (3.7.6-8)
Elphaba is pretty harsh on both sexes here, which isn't surprising, since she's pretty harsh on people in general. Her comments about women give us insight into Oz's society, though. Women have "smaller" arenas and a more limited sphere than men; there clearly isn't gender equality in this world.
"Boys needs hot anger to survive. They need the inclination to fight, the drive to sink the knife into flesh, the energy and initiative of fury. It's a requirement of hunting, of defense, of pride. Maybe of sex, too." . . .
"And girls need cold anger. They need the cold simmer, the ceaseless grudge, the talent to avoid forgiveness, the sidestepping of compromise. They need to know when they say something that they will never back down, ever, ever. It's the compensation for a more limited scope in the world." (184.108.40.206-58)
Sarima's theory of hot and cold anger sounds a bit like yin and yang energy. Sarima may be uneducated, but she is definitely smart, as these insightful thoughts reveal. It's also notable that Elphaba believes that she has both types of anger within her. Elphaba might be a sort of gender hybrid on top of everything else.
Nanny didn't mention that Yackle was certain the next child would be a girl too. There was too much chance Melena would try to abort her, and Yackle sounded quite sure that history belonged to two sisters, not a single girl. (1.8.90)
Oz might not be an equal opportunity zone, but it's certainly dominated by a lot of powerhouse women. The only really powerful man we see in the whole book is the Wizard. Pretty much all the other leaders and figures of influence are women.