What you need to know about Sex and Gender: The difference!

Although the terminologies sex and gender are most often used on an interchangeable basis, many linguists are of the opinion that their usage is fairly discrete. While behaviors, roles, expectations, and activities in society can be attributed to gender, biological and physiological characteristics are deemed as sex.

Sex refers to male or female, whereas gender refers to masculine or feminine. Although sex differences do not differ worldwide, gender differences most often do.

Some of the characteristics associated with sex are as follows:

• While females have a vagina, males have a penis
• Male newborns are more likely to weigh heavier than female newborns
• While females can breastfeed their babies, males cannot
• Males have deeper voices than females
• While females go through pregnancy, males do not
• Males have testicles and females have ovaries

Some of the characteristics associated with gender are as follows:

• Women are more likely to attend to housework than their male counterparts
• Compared to Egypt, a larger proportion of doctors in the US are women
• Although nursing is traditionally a woman’s job, many men enter the profession

Here’s another way of defining it: Sex is a natural or biological feature, while Gender refers to cultural or learned significance of sex.

The Medilexicon’s medical dictionary defines Sex as “The biologic character or quality that distinguishes male and female from one another as expressed by analysis of the person’s gonadal, morphologic (internal and external), chromosomal, and hormonal characteristics.” Gender is “The category to which an individual is assigned by self or others, on the basis of sex.”

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