The term ‘female’ refers to biologically based references to the sex of a woman.
The word ‘female’ derives from the Latin femella, which is a diminutive of femina or woman. It is often mistakenly assumed to have been derived from ‘male’, a word that comes through Old French from the Latin masculus, which is a diminutive of mas (male, masculine).
IPS-Inter Press Service (2010). Gender and Development Glossary: A Tool for Journalists and Writers.