What is the difference between sex and gender in sociology

This page is a resource explaining general sociological concepts of sex and gender. In sociology, we make a distinction between sex and gender. Sex are the biological traits that societies use to assign people into the category of either male or female, whether it be through a focus on chromosomes, genitalia or some other physical ascription. When people talk about the differences between men and women they are often drawing on sex — on rigid ideas of biology — rather than gender, which is an understanding of how society shapes our understanding of those biological categories.
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Sex and gender distinction

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Sex versus Gender - Sociology - Oxford Bibliographies

How is gender different from sex? According to sociologists, sex is biological, while gender is socially constructed. Sociologists study how gender socialization occurs and have found that people often face strong social pressures to follow societal gender norms. However, as the rich diversity of gender identities and expressions makes clear, gender does not necessarily follow sex in the ways we are socialized to expect. Gender activities emerge from and bolster claims to membership in a sex category. They argue that people rely on a variety of resources, like mannerisms, behaviors, and consumer goods to perform gender.
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Sociology of Gender

When Harry was born, his parents, Steve and Barb, were delighted to add another boy to their family. But as their baby boy began to grow and develop, they noticed that Harry began to express himself in a manner that they viewed as more feminine than masculine. He gravitated toward dolls and other toys that our culture typically associates with girls. He even began to draw himself as a girl, complete with a dress and high-heeled shoes.
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Sex is defined as biologically and physiologically determined differences between men and women, such as chromosomes or genitalia. Gender is different to sex. It is a social construct, and something we have to learn and perform, rather than what we were born with. Gender is therefore how society constructs ideals of behaviour which are fundamentally different for men and women. It is important to look at gender because power and privilege is not equally distributed between the sexes: men often gain privilege at the expense of women, for instance, through the pay gap or earning the right to vote decades before their female counterparts.
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