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Difference Between Sex and Gender

Main Difference

The terms ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ are used interchangeably in the daily routine, yet they do not have the same or nearly same meaning. Actually, the term ‘sex’ refers to biological and physical difference between men and women while the term ‘gender’ refers to characteristics, behaviors, roles, expectations etc between the both.

What is Sex?

As described before, the term ‘sex’ refers to biological & physical differences between men and women including breasts, penis, vagina, testicles, hormones, chromosomes, morphology etc. Sex is kind of a natural thing which is determined after almost 6 weeks after the pregnancy, as the recent research witnesses. It is basically a biological feature. The word sex means ‘division’ or ‘section’ while in ‘Latin’ it means ‘six’.

Examples of differences or characteristics related to sex:

  • Males have testicles, female do not.
  • Females have breasts, males do not.
  • Female baby tends to weigh less than male baby
  • Females can get pregnant, males do not.
  • Males have more possibility of having mustache than females
  • Males have thick voices than female
  • Males have penises while female do not.

What is Gender?

Gender refers to characteristics, roles, behaviors, expectations etc between men and women on the basis of societal norms and customs. It means how a man or a woman will behave, react, expect in the particular way and in a particular culture or society. It is usually culturally learned and vulnerable to change over the period of time and because of acquired knowledge and experiences by persons of some particular sex. This is why, gender is sometimes called ‘the sex of the brain’.

Examples of differences or characteristics related to sex:

  • Women does more household work than men.
  • Professions like nursing is said to be more suited for women than men
  • Almost 120 years ago, women were not allowed to vote.
  • In more Islamized countries, women have to cover maximum part of their body while men do not have to.

Key Differences

  • Sex remains the same throughout the different cultures while gender varies accordingly.
  • Sex is very difficult to change while gender, on the other hand, can be changed as is determined by society.
  • Sex is biologically constructed and gender is socially constructed.
  • Sex is male or female or any other biological difference while gender is masculine or feminine or transgender.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson