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gender, sex

The original meaning of gender has been broadened from the designation of grammatical categories to uses formerly limited to the word sex. However, the two words are not interchangeable.

Sex is the preferred term in reference to biological categories or behaviour.

  • The tests determined the baby’s sex before birth.
  • Many societies frown on premarital sex.

Gender is appropriate for describing social or cultural roles and categories.

  • In certain societies, gender roles are rigidly defined.
  • Equity programs have helped reduce the gender gap in pay.