Gender Stereotypes | Difference between Sex and Gender

Difference between Sex and Gender

The difference between sex and gender and gender stereotypes are two most important topics for B.Ed. Go through the article and you can find out both the topics in a very easy manner:

 1. Gender refers to cultural and sociological differences between male and female.

On the other hand, sex refers to the biological and physiological differences between male and female.

2. Factors determining gender are sociological in nature, like role possession, behaviour, identity etc.

But factors determining sex are biological in nature like, chromosomes, sex organs, hormones etc.

3. A person’s gender corresponds to his/her sex.

But a person’s sex does not always correspond to his/her gender.

4. Characteristics of gender may vary between different societies.

On the contrary, sexual characteristics do not vary significantly between different human societies.

5. Gender roles are learned and can changed over time and between cultures.

On the other hand, sex roles are fixed and determined at birth.

See more differences below

 6. Sex denotes human females and males depending on biological features.

Whether gender denotes women and men depending on social factors.

7. The genital differences between male and female is termed as sex.

But gender is an analytical category that is socially constructed to differentiate between biological men and women.

8. Sex is derived from the latin word ‘sexus’ which means either of two divisions of organic nature distinguished as male or female.

On the contrary, gender is derived from the Latin word ‘genus’ referring to kind or race. It is a kind, sort or class referring to the common sort of people.

9. Sex roles are universal and determined at birth.

But gender roles and expectations are learned.

10. Sex is biological construction of men and women.

On the other hand, gender is the social construction of men and women roles in a given culture or location.  

Gender Stereopyes

Gender Stereotypes

 A gender role consists of activities that man and woman engage in with different frequencies. A gender stereotype consists of beliefs, about the psychological traits and characteristics of, as well as, the activities appropriate to, man and woman. Gender roles are defined by behaviour but gender stereotypes are beliefs and attitudes about masculinity and femininity. But the concepts of gender role and gender stereotype tend to be related. When people associate a pattern of behaviour with either men or women, they overlook individual variations and came to believe that the behaviour is inevitably associated with one gender and not the other. Therefore, gender roles furnish the materials for gender stereotypes.

 Generally, stereotype is used to categorize a group of people and a general believe regarding it is that, everyone who is a member of a classified group has certain distinguishing attributes. Therefore, in a very simple way, gender stereotype refers to categorizing men and women and ascribing to them specific attributes, characters or roles by way of only his/her membership in that particular social group.

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 Gender stereotypes are very influential. They affect conceptualizations of men and women and establish social categories of gender. These categories represent what people think and believe even when the beliefs are very far from reality, but they can be very powerful forces in the judgement of self and others. Therefore, the history structure and functions of stereotypes are necessary for understanding the impact of gender upon people’s life.

 The current gender stereotypes specially those about women reflect beliefs that appeared during the 19th century. Before it, most people lived and worked on forms where men and women worked together. But, the industrial revolution changed the lives of a majority of people by moving men outside the house to earn money and leaving women to manage houses and children. Such changes produced two beliefs- The Doctrine of To Spheres and The Cult of True Women-hood.


The Doctrine of Two Spheres is the belief that women’s and men’s interest diverged, they have their separate areas of influence. For women, the areas are home and children, whereas, that of men’s are worked outside world. These two spheres are different and this forms the bases for not only for gender, but also for psychological formulation of the measurement of masculinity and femininity. The Cult of True Women-hood emphasizes that, women should have four virtues of purity, piety, submissiveness and domesticity. These characteristics provides the promise of happiness and power to women and without these, no women’s lives could be meaningful.

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 The 19th century idealisation of women also had implications for men who were seen as the opposite of women in a number of ways. Women were passive, dependent, pure, refined and dedicated. But men were active, independent, coarse and strong.

 Such categorization formed the basis for the polarization of male and female interests and activities. The strong component of modern masculinity are the Big Wheel which describes men’s quest for success and status as well as their need to be looked up to the Sturdy Oak that describe men’s qualities of toughness, confidence and self-reliance. Know Cissy Staff implying the rejection of the feminine qualities and give them Hell, reflecting acceptance of violence aggression and daring in men’s behaviour. The more closely that a men conforms to these characteristics, the closer he is to being ‘a real man’. However, it has been noticed that men who conform to such stereotyping tend to be poorly adjusted and unhappy because these roles prohibits close personal relationships even with wives and children and requires persistent competition and striving for achievement. These difficulties have led men to make significant departures from the role’s requirements.

 This departure has let many men to move away from the male gender role identity. Even women began to make significant departures from their traditional roles. This is known as gender role strain (previously known as Sex Role Strain). Both the sexes have deviated from the traditional roles as they have began to believe that such roles are harmful to them personally and to the society, making adherence to the role a strain.

More important B.Ed Notes

  • Critical Analysis of Syllabus and Textbook – CLICK HERE

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