Originally posted at The Morning Star
“Sex” is defined by the biological and physiological characteristics that determine what we mean by men and women, while “gender” is defined by the socially constructed roles, behaviours and attributes society deems appropriate for men and women.
What is meant by sex does not generally differ between different societies, while characteristics of gender can vary greatly.
For the vast majority of us sex is determined at birth, either male (boy) or female (girl) based on physical appearances (phenotypes) that reveal our inner biology.
Sex has real-life consequences, for example, for women, menstruation and the risk of pregnancy. Being a social construct, gender is not something innate within us and has meaning only because society says so.
Feminists view gender as a system (patriarchy) that allows men to oppress women by limiting, for example, social statuses, roles and career choices, based solely upon designated birth sex. Gender determines whether the child has a male or a female socialisation.
Within the transgender movement, gender is often conflated with sex or even seen as something positive, and male socialisation is often denied.