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Frans de Waal: Different – Gender Through the Eyes of a Primatologist

Doors Open & Check-In: 5:45 PM PDT

Program Begins: 6:30 PM PDT





How different are men and women? Do they differ naturally or artificially? Do we find the same differences in our fellow primates? Do apes learn sex roles, too, or is gender uniquely human?


In Different, primatologist Frans de Waal s de Waal discusses insights into the origins of sex and gender from studies of both human and animal behavior. Different provides a thought-provoking review of the long-running debate about the origins of sex and gender. De Waal peppers his discussion with details from his own life – a Dutch childhood in a family of six boys and decades of academic turf wars over outdated scientific theories. He also discusses sexual orientation, gender identity, and the limitations of a strict binary. Nature produces more variability than most human societies are prepared to recognize, and primate groups often include (and tolerate) exceptional individuals.


In-Person Tickets – This lecture will be held in-person at the Commonwealth Club’s headquarters in San Francisco. The capacity for the in-person component of this program is reduced to meet COVID guidelines, so be sure to purchase your ticket early! Click here to secure your in-person ticket

Online-Only Tickets – This lecture will be simultaneously broadcast online so that viewers can see the lecture live from the comfort of their homes. You must pre-register for online-only viewing to get access to the live-stream link. Click here to register for the online-only lecture

Signed copy of Different Tickets including a signed copy of Dr. de Waal’s book Different are offered for both In-Person and Online-Only ticket types. If you want to get a signed copy of Dr. de Waal’s new book be sure to select the ticket option including the book when you purchase tickets!

All ticket sales are final and nonrefundable. 

Safety protocols for in-person attendance:

We follow best practices laid out by the CDC and state and local guidelines.

All guests, staff, and volunteers must be fully vaccinated and boosted (14 days after receiving the second dose of a 2-dose vaccine series or 14 days after receiving a single dose vaccine and receiving a booster dose). Guest must show proof of full vaccination and booster dose with photo I.D.

N95 Masks (or equivalent) are required at all times indoors (If you do not have one, one will be provided).

In-person capacity is limited.

Elevators are limited to a maximum of four (4) people at a time.

The Commonwealth Club’s LEED Gold-certified building is designed to cool with outside air, using digitally controlled moveable windows and large ceiling fans. They deploy additional HEPA filters inside to scrub the air. This is all in addition to increased cleaning of surfaces throughout the building.

This event is produced in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences and Commonwealth Club of California. Sponsored by: Ann and Gordon Getty Camilla and George Smith The Joan and Arnold Travis Education Fund





I [name], of [city, state ZIP], bequeath the sum of $[ ] or [ ] percent of my estate to L.S.B. Leakey Foundation for Research Related to Man’s Origins, Behavior & Survival, (dba The Leakey Foundation), a nonprofit organization with a business address of 1003B O’Reilly Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94129 and a tax identification number 95-2536475 for its unrestricted use and purpose.

If you have questions, please contact Sharal Camisa Smith sharal at 

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