[ gen-der ] 1. Grammar. 1. a. A set of two or more categories, as masculine, feminine, and neuter, into which words are divided according to sex, animation, psychological associations, or some other characteristic, and that determine agreement with or the selection of modifiers, referents, or grammatical forms. 1. b. One category of such a set. 1. c. The classification of a word or grammatical form in such a category. 1. d. The distinguishing form or forms used. 2. Classification of sex.
[ sex ] 1. a. The property or quality by which organisms are classified according to their reproductive functions. 1. b. Either of two divisions, designated male and female, of this classification. 2. Males or females collectively. 3. The condition or character of being male or female; the physiological, functional, and psychological differences that distinguish the male and the female. 4. The sexual urge or instinct as it manifests itself in behavior. 5. Sexual intercourse. 6. The genitalia.
Taken as a noun, sex is a biological determinant, while gender carries psychological and sociological implications. Hence in biological sciences, sex differences are innate, chromosomally determined characteristics that distinguish between males and females, while in psychological and sociological sciences gender differences refer to male or female traits that result from learning and social roles.
Another quote, from a book entitled Gender Voices :
The opening words of Simone de Beauvoir's historic book The Second Sex capture the essential characteristic of gender: 'One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.' Gender is a socially rather than a biologically constructed attribute -- people are not born with but rather learn the behaviours and attitudes appropriate to their sex. During the last decade of research, it has become clear that gender is a very complex category. Theories are still being developed which try to grapple with the complexity but they share the idea that gender, unlike sex, is a continuous variable. A person can be more or less 'feminine' and more or less 'masculine.' Furthermore, a man can display 'feminine' characteristics just as a woman may demonstrate 'masculine' ones.
Table 1 Table 1 contains 45 terms which might be used to categorise people. Which, if any, of these words would you use to describe yourself?
Table 2 Table 2: Typically feminine and typically masculine characteristics. (Woodward, 2000)