Sex and Gender


Sex and Gender

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Sex and Gender

Sex and gender exist as separate entities within the society. Sex defines the biological aspects and components within an individual and bases the definition on body organs while gender defines the roles performed by individuals of a particular gender. Various inequalities exist from the context of sex and gender. These inequalities lead to the allocation of different roles to individuals based on their sex, which entails the discrepancies. Different theories in sociology try to explain these inequalities.


Housework, sexual violence, prostitution, employment variation, and social inequalities represent some of the many issues and problems, which exist in gender. Sociological theories, which include, social-conflict theory along with the symbolic interactionism together with the structural functionalism try to explain these problems. The said issues hinder the development of individuals within a gender and they have risen due to some stereotypes held upon the genders.


The sex and gender problem, which involves housework, has explanations based within structural-functionalism theory. The theory perceives the society as a combination of components, which work as a system to provide stability and solidarity in itself as a system (Macionis, 2013). The society assumes a structure within which different genders receive the assignment to perform different roles. The society in a bid to exist and progress as a unit perceives the need to have different domestic roles performed by specific groups within the society.


Homework exists as two parts the role of providing and that of maintaining and sharing the items provided. The social structure sets up the males to perform these roles, which include providing, and protection to smaller units within the society due to their masculine nature. The same social structure assigns the duties of dividing, multiplying, and maintaining the provided items to the females due to their ability to solve social issues (Scott, Crompton, & Lyonette, 2010).


The social structure as set by the structural-functional theory implies that the genders must perform the roles assigned to them to have a functional and progressive system as a society. For the societies survival the parts and components, which involve the different genders, must assume and take up the assigned roles. The society as a unit exists within established structures, which guide the duties performed by different individuals. Males appear as more enterprising and this enables them to take up greater roles than the housework, which females perform.


The structures set by the society limit the functions, which individuals from these genders can perform. Moving along a line, which appears as a diversion from the set and assigned duties, leads an individual to receive reproach from the society (Scott, 2012). The assignment of these duties continues over generations to form a situation, which appears as a stereotype. The stereotype presents one gender as capable of only the assigned duties and generation’s progress with these beliefs.


Through symbolic interactionism individuals view the society as a continuous system which experiences changes (Macionis, 2013). With these changes, individuals select some symbols and interpret them to derive understanding on different issues. Regarding the sexual violence, which revolves around gender inequalities, individuals perceive the female gender as a weak gender. Similarly, the society perceives masculinity with the male gender and thus represents dominance over the female gender. Individuals within the male gender may perceive the urge to show their dominance over their counterparts from the female gender.


Sexual violence through rape and sexual inappropriateness takes the form of dominance expressed in gender inequality. The actions from this perspective present the assumption that the female gender represents a symbol of weakness through which the individuals from the male gender gain dominance through the sexual violence acts (Scott, Crompton, & Lyonette, 2010). Situations, which present the reverse encounter where individuals from the female gender pose sexually violent actions to the individuals from the male gender, draw wide attention.


In this situation, the society perceives those sexual violence acts performed by members of the male gender to females as normal. The society in this situation views one gender as deserving of these acts as the other does not deserve. From the situations, society draws symbols, which it associates with such conditions.


The social conflict theory presents that a society as a place where inequalities exist. These inequalities lead to conflict and change within the same society in which they exist. Gender contributes to the inequality, which occurs in the employment scene (United Nations, 2007). The differences between the two genders present a conflict within the workplace, which leads the employers and job providers to developing a preference for male workers as compared to their female counterparts.


Among the reasons for the conflict, include the situations, which arise on the workers side in the workplace. For example, the employment inequality exists due to employer’s preference towards enrolling males than females. The female employees seek more days off during the pregnancy period, which reduces the productivity of the institution, which has offered them employment (Scott, 2012). Moreover, females sometimes have limits within which they can work. These limits include time limits and limits in terms of strength.


Due to the domestic assignments, which individuals from the female gender have to consider and perform, the employers seek to admit those from the male gender. The employment inequality arises due to the preferences presented by employers during the employment process (United Nations, 2007). The employers seek individuals who can meet the set targets without unpredictable situations occurring. Furthermore, they perceive individuals from the female gender as emotional driven which means that they may react differently towards harsh environments from men.


The conflict within the situation of employment arises between the employers who have requirements for the workforce within their organizations and the female job seekers. The abilities to work under the set conditions do not match to the set standards. In this regard, the employers move towards absorbing more male workers as they can meet the environmental requirements. In this context, the employment inequality occurs.


The social-conflict theory presents the issues revolving around prostitution as a problem, which emerges due to the conflicting interests presented by members within a society. The members of the female gender seem to indulge more within prostitution activates. From the sociology theory, one, understand that these individuals indulge in the activities due to the situation which they operate within (Macionis, 2013). The employment inequality exists as a gender and sex issue within the society while still modern societies look upon females to assist in the domestic provision role.


The need to play within the provision of a family an individual who does not receive a regular salary from formal or informal employment pushes them towards using what they have to provide. The females face the pressure to support males with providing and managing the resources within the basic units of society (Merry, 2009). From these challenges, the females present the desire to work and contribute part of the family’s expenditure. The employers and job providers show a preference for male employees rather than the female workers. The conditions present a situation in which conflicts exist.


Expected to provide and having limited access to right means of provision, the members of the female gender resort to prostitution as a solution to job seeking. The perceptions that failure to provide will make others view them as a letdown also contributes to the conflict. Moving by the conflict theory, the individuals from the female gender find themselves within the situation where they have to take a step (Merry, 2006).


Social inequality also exists as a problem within the society, which revolves around gender and sex. As a gender problem, social inequality occurs when individuals from one gender seem to receive praises and admiration as compared to those from the other gender. Based on the symbolic interactionism, the social inequality occurs differently for different genders and regarding different fields (Macionis, 2013).


For example, within the domestic chores, most revolve around the female gender, males who try to perform these roles do not receive recognition rather the society views them as misfits. Similarly, members of the female gender who engage in activities, which require great strength and endurance do not receive the needed credit in these activities (Merry, 2006).


The society views these women as hard headed and this does not motivate them towards greater achievement. Social inequality also revolves around participating on equal levels in social experiences where individuals receive the recognition equally. Once societies place symbols to represent an activity with a gender group, participation in these activities by individuals from other genders does not take place swiftly.










Macionis, J. J. (2013). Society: The basics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Merry, S. E. (2006). Human rights and gender violence: translating international law into local justice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Merry, S. E. (2009). Gender violence: a cultural perspective. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell Pub.

Scott, J. L. (2012). Gendered Lives: Gender Inequalities in Production and Reproduction. Manchester: Edger Eleger Publishers.

Scott, J. L., Crompton, R., & Lyonette, C. (2010). Gender inequalities in the 21st century new barriers and continuing constraints. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

United Nations, U. N. (2007). The employment imperative: report on the world social situation 2007. New York: United Nations.




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