GENDER, SEX AND GENDER EQUALITY

Latoria
Posted July 25, 2019 from Nigeria

Today is the 86th day of the 90-days challenge and I'm grateful to you all for following. Thanks so much for reading, commenting and criticising. Rounding up this challenge, I'd like to discuss the differences between sex and gender and why you should support gender equality.

Sex is not gender and gender is not sex. Sex is biological while gender is cultural. Sex is determined by five factors present at birth. They are the presence or absence of a Y chromosome, the gonads, sex hormones, internal reproductive anatomy (such as the uterus), and the external genitalia. Those are what characterise a man or a woman and they are different in both sexes. Hence, boys and girls are different, biologically.

A female has the XX chromosome pair while the male has just the XY chromosome pair. The sex gonads of the males are the testes while those in the females are the ovaries. Sex hormones differ in both sexes. In the females, estrogen and progesterone are produced as sex hormones while testosterone is produced in the males. However, the testosterone is also produced in the females while the estrogen is produced also in the males but at a low rate. Talking about the internal reproductive anatomy, these also differ in both sexes. The uterus, womb and the likes in the females are different from the testes, scrotum and the likes in the males. Lastly, the woman has a vagina while the man has a penis. Now, are we saying all men should be women? Absolutely no!

Sex is fairly constant. Your biological differences as a male are constant. They can't change with time but rather, they develop. However, gender can change with time. It's not constant because when an external force called 'another way of life' is acted upon it, it can be changed. What makes up gender then?

Gender is made up of culture. Culture is defined in terms of norms, roles and relationships. FAO defines gender as the relations between men and women, both perceptual and material. Gender is not determined biologically, as a result of sexual characteristics of either women or men, but is constructed socially. It is a central organising principle of societies, and often governs the processes of production and reproduction, consumption and distribution.

From the above definition, we can confirm that gender is socially constructed. It's dependent on a particular way of life and differs in respect to societies. That is, what's seen as a norm for a man in society A might be seen as a taboo for another man in society B. For instance, it's expected of a Yoruba woman to kneel down while the man prostrate to greet an elderly person. However, it's not the same in other tribes here in Nigeria. Also, in the Zambia, men and women kneel down to greet! What's the point? Is greeting biological? Is it not cultural?

Gender norms are standards and expectations to which women and men generally conform, within a range that defines a particular society, culture and community at that point in time. They are ideas about how women and men should be and act while gender roles can be defined as the behaviors, values, and attitudes that a society considers appropriate for both male and female. Lastly, gender relations intersect with all other influences on social relations – age, ethnicity, race, religion, etc. – to determine the position and identity of people in a social group. Since gender relations are a social construct, they can be transformed over time to become more equitable.

Gender relations refer to relations between men and women that are socially determined by culture, religion, or socially acceptable ways of thinking or being. These relationships between men and women, as they exist in most societies, are characterised by the marginalisation of women in decision making and other forms of power sharing in the home and places of authority. The economic exploitation of women and extensive violence to the person and psyche of women the problem of unequal gender relations is both personal and systemic. This is giving rise to gender-based violence, death, poverty of families, neglect of children and a variety of societal dysfunctions In the interest of justice, empowerment and the development of families and communities, these relations need to be analysed and new solutions found for their transformation. The problem will need to be analysed both from its personal and systemic roots. (Institute for Social Transformation)

Therefore, gender equality is not advocating for 'what a man can do, a woman can do better' in respect to biological differences. By the way, I think the saying was coined to support gender equality in that how giving women same opportunities, privileges and rights (which they are entitled to already) as the men would yield better result. That is, why don't you give this female sex a trial and see if they are not going to do better in that field you think they can't actually perform?

Gender equality provides equal opportunities to both sexes which promotes good health and well-being and eradicate poverty. Both sexes, having access to quality education, would get or provide decent work while they grow their economy and control the havoc done on the environment due to climate change... All these would be achieved if you support gender equality.

I know some people who still limit girls. Yeah, here in the south-west, gender equality is close to being achieved but not in politics. Some people still believe women can't do well in politics. However, in some other parts of the country and countries, gender equality is not close to being achieved. Some people still have this mindset of restricting women to only house chores and making babies! It's sad. A woman is first human. Nobody is just born to cook and deliver of children. Cooking is a function of gender. Making babies is not cultural. However, a sex can't make babies all alone! There was an agreement to make babies before the sperm could fertilise the ovum, hence, you both made the babies. Therefore, it shouldn't be seen as the role of the woman to nurture but both roles. Whatever the agreement is between the two sexes should be ideal enough to not limiting the potentials of both sexes to realising their dreams! And yes, do support gender equality today.

Thank you very much for following.

Comments 7

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Fonsohyvette
Jul 26
Jul 26

Thanks dear i have really learn alot

Latoria
Jul 28
Jul 28

Thank you

Jill Langhus
Jul 26
Jul 26

Hi Latoria,

Wow! Has it been that long already? Great job for sticking it out! I was a little confused by your definitions of "sex" versus "gender" but I see where you're going with it. Sex is really an act, though, and gender is female versus male, by definition. I think that when we refer to "sex" as gender, points can be blurred. It looks like this could be my differentiation challenge, however, at least as far as the word "sex" goes because I just looked it up and it has multiple meanings according to dictionary.com. I just think it's a loaded, and convoluted term, personally.

Anyway, I hope you're doing well, and having a great Friday, dear:-)

Latoria
Jul 28
Jul 28

Hi, Jill. Thank you.

Sex is used as a verb and noun. Sex used as a verb means intimacy. To have sex is to copulate. However, sex as a noun means two things. The first is the name of the copulation between two or three humans. And the second definition is what we are talking about here.

The second refers to your sex as human. It's the state of being a male or female due to biological characteristics which I explained in this post. It's being a male, female or intersex.

While gender on the other hand refers to all the social structures put in place in defining your biological characteristics as a male or female. Gender refers to men being aggressive, domineering and controlling because they are not born all those. They learn it over time due to culture while sex refers to the sexual organs which of course remains fairly constant. That is, a male is born with a pens and a female, a vagina.

Jill Langhus
Jul 29
Jul 29

Hi Latoria,

You're welcome, dear:-)

I understand what you're saying, and hear you. Thanks for clarifying. I see gender more as this definition: a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification and is based on the individual's personal awareness or identity. But it's fine if we have different definitions and preferences. That's what makes us human.

Hope you're having a great day:-)

ARREY- ECHI
Jul 26
Jul 26

Dear Latoria,
Congratulations for sticking out to your campaign. I must have missed alot as this is the first post of yours I am reading here.
Generally, knowledge of the biological and social constructs of gender does determine how we approach gender equality.

More grace to your efforts.

Latoria
Jul 28
Jul 28

Hi, Arrey. Thank you so much.