The Underlying Differences between Gender and Sex

1056 words | 4 page(s)

The debate surrounding the difference between sex and gender has manifested itself for quite some time. Some scholars have premised the difference in terms of culture while others have had in mind other forms of determinisms. Some medics have even gone to the extent of conducting research on the difference in the genetic make-up between men and women. All these have been done in an effort to distinguish whether there is a difference between sex and gender. This research paper will attempt to offer the underlying distinctions, if at all, they exist. The foundation of this research will be dependent on the authors: Baron-Cohen Simon, Jill Filipovic, Robert Lee Hotz and Judith Butler. The theories that they advocate shall be discussed in depth in this research paper.

Baron-Cohen, argues that the difference between men and women is not only based on genitalia but also in other various ways. He argues that the reason why women have not been in the public profile is because of the old stereotyping on the female gender. The stereotyping here is meant to emanate from cultures that many communities hold towards women and men. To advocate for an equal platform for both men and women, she argues, the stereotypes must be done away with. There is a biological difference between men and women. The genetic make-up is distinct, as a matter of fact. This can be determined by the number of X-chromosomes and Y-chromosomes. it has been found out that the chromosome count and character in men differ from the count and character in women. For example, it is a settled medical fact that men have a 1000 X-chromosome more than women. This explains why, generally, men appear physically different than their counterparts (Baron-Cohen).

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Jill Philipovic argues that currently, women are now better performers in education than men. This is against a perception some years ago that men were better placed than women in education. For example, more women than women have acquired degrees than men in the last two decades. Due to this fact, the gap between payment between men and women in workplaces is closing. Jill gives an example of General Motors (GM), which is among the first-time corporations to be headed by women. On the other side, she says, the women soon leave their workplaces because of other responsibilities that they should fulfill, for example child bearing. This makes the woman in the society still lurk behind in terms of the payment they get. Men seize this opportunity to earn more than women and their status return to normal. The ambition gap between men and women remain as it was, she argues. The reason that women give not to aspire in holding top positions as men is that the aspirations may end in the oblivion, as gender parity is still rife in many workplaces (Jill).

The female gender faces various challenges over their male counterparts. The disparities in their treatment can easily be corrected by legislation. When the woman is on maternity leave, for example, adequate leave pay ought to be paid to her. In USA for example, a woman employee gets a 5 % penalty per child. Instances such as these should be corrected, for the purpose of achieving an equal society (Jill). There should be equal promotion rates for both women and men employees despite the women’s distractive programs. The challenges faced by women are both cultural and political. The cultural perception that the woman’s place is the kitchen is still held at a pedestal by many people. Jill argues that unless these perceptions are forgotten, then the woman’s position in the society will remain as culturally perceived.

Robert Hotz argues that there is actually a difference between men and women. The difference he advances is that the connecting nerve fiber to the brain is different in men and women. This difference in nerve-brain connection is attributed to the difference in gender behavior exhibited in men and women (Hotz).

Judith Butler argues that gender identity is a performativity aspect associated with social domain. She further argues that other descriptive norms of what gender identity constitutes do not hold nay reasoning. The feminist theory distinguishes sex and gender, not on causal basis but on a different platform. The theory suggests that the body is just an active natural status of historical idea. The performance should not be dependent on the body structure of the woman but rather on the performativity acts. That the body is only a set of possibilities. To be a female is a factility while to be a woman is to have conformed to the social setting or the belief (Butler).

It can thus be clearly stated that the distinction between gender and sex may be premised on different foundations. Sex is based on the biological structure of human being. The genetic make-up of a man is different from that of a woman. The X-chromosome count in men is different from that of a woman. The physiological aspect of it may depict this idea. The question that arises most of the time is whether the difference in sex affects the performance outcome of the female and male (Butler). Culturally, there has been a perception that sex affects the behavior of male and female. This can explain why the woman character has not been in the public life like the man.

Gender parity is an issue that really needs to be addressed in the workplaces. The woman gender is still facing unreasonable challenges in the workplace despite her good performance in education. Women should hold more top positions in corporations despite their divided responsibilities both at home and at work. Legislative structures must be put in place to correct the discrimination in the workplace.

  • Butler, Judith. “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and
    Feminist Theory”. http://people.su.se/~snce/texter/butlerPerformance.pdf. Theatre Journal, Vol. 40, No. 4. (Dec., 1988). pp. 519-531. Web. February 25, 2014.
  • Filipovic, Jill. “Why is there an ambition gap between millennial men and women” http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/1/millennial womengenderpayequityeconomicuncertainty.html. January 7, 2014. Web. February 25, 2014.
  • Hotz, Robert Lee. “Differences in How Men and Women Think Are Hard-Wired.” http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304744304579248151866594232. Dec. 9, 2013. Web. February 25, 2014.
  • Baron-Cohen,Simon. “It’s not sexist to accept that biology affects behaviour. “http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/may/03/biology-sexist-gender-stereotypes. May 3, 2010. Web. February 25, 2014

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