Topic 2 Characteristics of the biological sex and social gender

Gender attributes men and women in relation to the way through which they interact and socialize.

Gender is institutionally structured that is to say that it makes reference to ‘’social, legal and religious systems that support a particular society’s values, beliefs and cultures.‘’

Gender is hierarchical, meaning that it ‘’tend(s) to attribute greater importance and value to the characteristics and activities associated with certain roles, leading to unequal power relations.’’

Gender is interrelated to the context meaning that gender roles’ determination is interdependent to the context in which gender relations are exercised (socio-economic, cultural, religious background etc.)

In the following table you can see a sum of the differences due to biological sex and gender:

Differences due to biological gender (Sex)

Differences due to Social Gender

From the time of birth there are biological or physical differences between the bodies of males and females. (These differences will be mixed or less clear in intersex persons.)

Differences are learned through modelling and observation and passed from one generation to the next.                                                                                                                   

Differences between male and female bodies are the same all over the world.

There is variation from place to place around the world because gender norms vary from one social and cultural context to another.

These differences last from birth to adulthood.

Differences may lead to exploitation or unequal treatment if people are not valued equally, or if variation from the norm is not accepted.

These differences become more noticeable after puberty is reached.

Gender norms can change over time.