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Gender Definition

  • People who are male, female, or intersex physically differ from one another. This is referred to as "sex." Physiological factors, such as a person's genitalia and chromosome makeup, are often used to determine a person's sex at birth. The term "natal sex" refers to this ascribed sex.
  • Contrarily, gender is determined by how a person identifies. Gender is not composed of binary components like natal sex. Instead, there is a wide spectrum of gender. A person may identify anywhere along this spectrum or even completely outside it.
  • People can identify with genders other than their natal sex or with none at all. These identities can be gender-neutral, nonbinary, or transgender. A person might describe their gender in a variety of other ways.
  • As gender "roles" or "norms," gender also exists as a social construct. The socially created roles, conduct, and characteristics a society deems proper for men and women are described as theseTrusted Source. Gender has always been viewed as a binary concept in the US. Many other civilizations have long acknowledged third genders or do not adhere to the same binary as Americans. Trusted Source
  • In any event, it is erroneous to think of gender as an either/or situation.
  • "Cisgender" refers to a person who identifies with the gender that they were given at birth.
  • Non-cisgender people who do not identify as a member of the male/female, boy/girl gender binary may also identify as nonbinary, genderfluid, or genderqueer, among other identities.
  • A person who identifies as transgender may have a gender identity that differs from their birth sex.
  • In contrast to the genetic definitions of sex, a 2016 assessment found that gender has a wide range.
  • A person may identify with gender roles completely or only in part. They might not identify at all with gender roles. Nonbinary people are those who do not identify with the gender binaries that are currently used. Genderfluid, bigender, and gender-neutral identities are all included under one general phrase.
Gender Definition

Society and Gender

  • Gender is a social construct as well. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Reliable Source:
  • "Gender refers to the socially constructed traits that distinguish men and women, such as standards, roles, and connections within and between sexes. It can be altered and differs from society to society.
  • Some societies have more stringent gender roles than others. Roles and preconceptions can, however, change throughout time and are not always fixed in stone. This change is reflected in a 2018 meta-analysis of public opinion surveys about gender stereotypes in the United States.

Health and Gender

Gender and both physical and mental health have complicated relationships.

Healthcare systems do not respect gender.

The WHO Report

The impact of gender stigmas and preconceptions on a person's access to healthcare is highlighted by Trusted Source. Gender stereotypes impact global health systems' accountability, inclusion, and pathways for receiving care.

A Critique

  • The failure of health institutions to address gender-based disparities can perpetuate restrictive and prescriptive gender binaries, as evidenced by first-hand case studies from a Reliable Source.
  • The researchers also noted how these care disparities might interact with and exacerbate other forms of social injustice.
  • According to the review's findings, health systems must be held responsible for addressing gender inequality and constrictive gender norms.
Gender Definition

Self-expression and Identity

  • Different ways exist for people to identify with and express their gender.
  • Gender identification refers to an individual's internal experiences, whereas gender expression refers to how they portray themselves to others. One could identify as nonbinary but seem to the outside world as a guy, for instance.
  • Gender identityis defined by GLAAD, formerly known as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, as "one's internal, personal sense" of belonging to one's gender at one extreme or the other of the gender continuum. The group continues:
  • "Most people identify as either men or women (or boy or girl). Some people's gender identities do not easily fit into either of those two categories.
  • GLAAD defines gender expressionas "External expressions of gender, expressed through one's name, pronouns, dress, haircut, conduct, voice, or body traits. Although what is deemed masculine and feminine shifts over time and differs by culture, society nevertheless labels these cues as such.
  • In psychology, specifically social psychology, the study of gender has grown in importance. Eagly (1987), one of the pioneers in this field, developed social role theory to explain gender- and sex-related stereotypes, attitudes, and ideologies and how men and women behave. Various additions improved this theory during the intervening years, and it rose to the top of the social psychology hierarchy for gender theories (Eagly & Wood, 2012). Social psychologists have also created a range of related ways to understanding gender over the past few decades, such as theories on the threat of stereotypes, status, backlash, lack of fit for certain occupations, social identity, and categorization. The European Association of Social Psychology and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology sponsored the conference that preceded this Research Topic, which presented work that fell under the general rubric of social role theory and associated methods.
  • The current interest in gender psychology reflects how important gender is to understanding social behavior. As evidenced by women's struggles to achieve parity in political and economic institutions, the #me-too movement's transformative power and the declining birthrates in many countries as women choose careers over raising large families, gender continues to be a driving force in global politics and economics. As the two main sex categories of male and female adapt to accommodate different gender and sexual identities, including non-binary identities and transgender status, binary gender itself is also under pressure.
  • Gender stereotypes, generally accepted as preconceived notions about the characteristics of women and men, are one of the main subjects of the social psychology of gender. Although it might appear that characterizing the content of gender stereotypes was already completed decades ago (e.g., Broverman et al., 1972), research on this topic has continued to grow. In addition to the fact that the current study has shown how gender stereotypes evolve (Eagly et al., 2019), this Research Topic also contains the article by Hentschel et al. that outlines the components that lie beneath the stereotypes' two main characteristics of agency and communion. They conclude that agency has the facets of independence, instrumental competence, and leadership competence, whereas communion has the facets of caring about others, sociability, and emotional sensitivity. Other developments in stereotype research take into account the intersections between gender and other social characteristics and the normative nature of gender stereotypes, which specify what individuals of each sex should and should not do. Koenig's research examines prescriptive stereotypes for the intersections of gender and age from infancy to old age to illustrate these advancements. Her research revealed that these gender prejudices about older men and women are becoming less accurate.
  • Even when they contend with the effect of other social roles, gender stereotypes nevertheless impact daily life. Demands for some occupations, in particular, may be more or less consistent with gender norms. Eagly and Karau (2002) stated that the female gender stereotype is often incongruous with leader roles because of the expectations that women are communal and that leaders, like men, are agentic. They extended social role theory to account for such situations. As a result, because many people think women lack the agentic qualities necessary for effective leadership, they may face discrimination when applying for leadership positions. Manzi questions if males who hold or aspire to hold roles with essentially communal demands face analogous discriminatory procedures. The article by Block et al. examines the underrepresentation of males in positions related to healthcare, early education, and domesticity (HEED) to better discuss how men occupy community responsibilities. According to their research, males typically have agentic values that emphasize status, rivalry, and wealth and are thus not drawn to occupations that emphasize caring for others. This is in line with gender stereotypes. However, as Van Grootel et al. shows, males frequently underestimate the degree to which other men concur with their social characteristics and behaviors. Men are more likely to affirm communal ideals and support positive gender-related social change when this pluralistic misunderstanding is corrected. Olsson and Martiny evaluate the study on exposure to counterstereotypical role models as a different example of how to lessen the impact of current gender stereotypes. They conclude that these exposures can potentially encourage non-stereotypical aims and aspirations, particularly in girls and women. The future of gender relations is unknown in a society where gender is constantly changing. Gustafsson Sendén et al. asked Swedes to indicate what they believed the characteristics of Swedish women and men were in the past, are in the present, and would be in the future to assist in understanding this future. In line with past studies by Diekman and Eagly (2000), respondents believed that women's agentic attributes grew with time while maintaining their only commonality versus men's. Such views may not accurately represent real changes in stereotype content over time since they are based on the abstract idea that gender equality is rising (Eagly et al., 2019).
  • In their work, Morgenroth and Ryan extensively explore the modern challenges to the binary understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. They discuss prior writings by Judith Butler, a philosopher who promoted "gender difficulty" to subvert the binary conception of gender. Butler's theories can help us understand how performance socially produces gender in society, as these authors indicate. Social psychologists might use Butler's ideas on performativity and related topics to generate exciting hypotheses for in-depth empirical research. Other social psychologists contend that in order to advance gender theory, it is necessary to do research that also takes into account the biological underpinnings of specific male and female behavioral characteristics (Eagly & Wood, 2013). According to this interactionist viewpoint, gender is a product of both nature and nurture.
  • The research articles in this area of study cover a wide range of topics related to sex and gender and are generally positioned within social psychology. Some of these themes establish connections between social psychology and other fields of psychology, including personality, developmental, cultural, industrial-organizational, and biological psychology, as well as between social psychology and the other social science fields of sociology, political science, and economics. Many authors whose work is included in this Research Topic acknowledge the significance of social roles as a central integrative notion in theories of gender by drawing on other fields of study and psychology subfields. By attempting to lay a wider theoretical base for future gender research, these publications seek to complement social role theory.

The gender of participants is a common theme in the social sciences regarding demographic presentations and quantitative study outcomes. Although gender is not a binary variable, it is most frequently represented by a dichotomous variable with the possible values of woman/man or female/male. However, the definition of gender is rarely given. In this article, we break down the idea of "gender" into its various components and make the case that the researcher must decide whether gender-related factors are pertinent to their particular research issue. To demonstrate this construct's complexity, we provide a full exposition of factors the researcher should consider when drafting questions concerning each facet.

  • Additionally, we remind the researcher that gender is not a binary category and talk about the difficulties in striking a balance between accounting for the gender variation that already exists while still classifying individuals into gender categories that are useful for statistical analyses. We offer an empirical illustration of how gender identity may be categorized when employing a free-text answer to assist in this process. Last but not least, we propose that additional variables besides participant gender might be more accurate predictors of the outcome variable.
  • In the social sciences, gender is related to many quantitative study findings and demographics, but what is gender and how can it be operationalized? Researchers try to create reliable instruments with little measurement errors for most variables. Despite this, most social science professions continue to employ binary gender measurements even though gender is not a binary concept (Westbrook & Saperstein, Citation2015) (Ansara & Hegarty, Citation2014; Hyde, Bigler, Joel, Tate, & van Anders, Citation2019; Richards et al., Citation2016). Few scholars contend, in contrast, that age is best assessed using the two response options "young" and "old," yet gender is still most frequently assessed as a dichotomous variable.
  • There are two issues with the binary gender paradigm. First, if gender is treated as a categorical variable without being operationalized, measurement errors may result (Frohard-Dourlent, Dobson, Clark, Doull, & Saewyc, Citation2017). For instance, binary response options do not capture the range of gender identities. Therefore standard measures do not recognize findings linked to identities other than the traditional genders of woman and man. The worst result of this is erroneous or at least distorted research findings. Second, having gender as a variable with only two possible answers is unfair to practice that disadvantages people who do not identify with either of those possibilities (Nowakowski, Sumerau, & Mathers, Citation 2016). Without facing prejudice in research, a person should be able to determine their gender identity for themselves. Because of this, using a binary gender categorization creates moral dilemmas (Frohard-Dourlent et al., Citation2017).

The Conclusion

  • The idea that a person is either a male or a woman based on their physical attributes has been reinforced by numerous communities for ages. This notion incorrectly conflates sex with gender. Gender and sex are distinct concepts.
  • In general, gender includes a person's identities, expressions, and social duties, while sex refers to a person's physical traits at birth.
  • A person may identify with no gender at all or with a gender other than their biological sex. Although nonbinary is a phrase that refers to a wide range of identities, it is frequently used to describe the latter identity.

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