This one came from Tamar from the west coast:
Our Chumash teacher was also the wife of our principal. She was explaining to us that women can’t be witnesses, and explained it like this:
“If there was a car accident at the intersection outside of our school, and the police came to ask for witnesses, and they asked the students, the students would get emotional and say “Omg I don’t know!!! There was this car, and then there was this other car, and there was this terrible crash and there was glass and omg omg!! It was horrible! The poor people! OMG!”
“But [principal] would calmly say ‘there was a car coming down Beverly, probably going over the speed limit, maybe 50 miles per hour, and there was a red light and it went through the red light and hit another car, it was a Honda, and it was driving pretty slowly, which then flipped over, and the first car started spinning…[you get the idea].’ And that, maidelach, is why girls can’t be witnesses.”
I have forgotten 90% of what that chumash teacher taught. This, I will never forget.
So, I did a little bit of googling. Eyewitness accuracy is generally notorious, but is there research on gender differences?
Most of it is summarized in this wikipedia article on eyewitness gender difference studies, although you can find a good deal of it on PubMed with some persistence. To summarize for you: there is nothing conclusive, but people seem to recall things they are familiar with better than things they aren’t. Also, people recall better when they aren’t freaked out.
Oh, and why aren’t women witnesses in Judaism? There is a wonderful source sheet on women and witnessing here (Thanks Aqibha!) and you will have some trouble finding something about women not being trusted.
Reason 1 is grammar: that the Torah specifies two men as witnesses. (Why grammar doesn’t absolve women from all commandments is another question.)
Reason 2 is to avoid compelling women to appear in court.
Someone, I’m sure, says that women are unreliable, but I have not yet found the source for that. Pity then, that women seem to be the happiest to parrot this idea.