Sex vs. Gender

The concepts of “sex” and “gender” can be confusing, not least because even the experts sometimes use them inconsistently. Sex refers to the innate biological categories of male or female. Gender refers to the social roles and identities associated with what it means to be a man or a woman. Gender roles are shaped by ideological, religious, ethnic,
economic and cultural factors and are a key determinant of the distribution of responsibilities and resources between men and women (Moser, 1989). Being socially determined, however, this distribution can be changed through conscious social action, including public policy. Every society is marked by gender differences, but these vary widely by culture and can change dramatically over time. Sex is biology. Gender is sociology. Sex is fixed. Gender roles change.

 –Agnes R. Quisumbing. 1996

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