Sex, gender and stereotypes



Sex: The biological differences between males and females including chromosomes, hormones and anatomy. Sex is innate.

Gender: A person's psychological status, as either masculine or feminine. These are influenced by the person's psychological and cultural differences between males and females including attitudes, behaviours and social roles. Gender is nurture.

Gender identity disorder (GID): When the biological sex does not reflect the way a person feels inside. Individuals may choose to have gender reassignment surgery, becoming transgender, in order to bring sexual identity in line with gender identity.

Sex-role stereotype: A set of beliefs and preconcieved ideas about what is expected or appropriate for males and females in a given society.

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Common sex-role stereotypes


  • Nurturing
  • Cooperative
  • Domestic
  • Emotional
  • Passive
  • Pretty.


  • Strong
  • Independent
  • Physical
  • Aggressive
  • Unemotive
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Sex-role stereotypes

Expectations are taught from an early age. Different types of play are expected of different genders.

At school there is pressure to study gender suitable subjects.

Expectations for job roles (women are nurses, men are doctors).

There is a big influence in the media, such as TV or magazines.

Sood et al (2014):

  • 12% of British primary teachers and 3% of nursery teachers are male, due to early years teaching being seen as a female proffession, their nurturing abilities and the unsuitability of males thanks to their perception as intimidating and threatening. 
  • The findings illistrate how sex-role stereotypes affect adult career choices.
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