What is the definition of sex?
Sex is a person’s biological status
Whether they are male or female
What is the definition of gender?
Gender is an individual’s learned and cultural status
Whether they are masculine or feminine
What is the Mullerian system?
In the first 6-8 weeks of development, all foetuses have the same undeveloped sex organs
How is sex determined?
Whether someone has XX or XY chromosomes
The presence or absence of the SRY gene determines whether the foetus will develop to be male or female
What is the role of the SRY gene?
It codes for the protein TDF
testis determining factor
What is the role of TDF?
It influences the development of the gonads so they become testes
The testes produce testosterone
What is the role of testosterone?
Testosterone triggers the development of external male organs
What happens in the absence of testosterone?
The Mullerian system develops into female sex organs
What are the 3 stages that lead to the development of gender identity?
- prenatal hormones
- development of male or female genitalia
- parents assign as male or female and raise the child accordingly
How are hormones involved in gender identity?
The same prenatal hormones that affect genitalia and the organisation of the brain are involved in gender identity
How do sex hormones differ in males and females?
The same sex hormones exist in males and females
They differ in quantity and the effects that they have on the body
What are the main sex hormones?
testosterone, oestrogen and oxytocin
What does a biological approach to gender suggest?
There is no difference between sex and gender
Biological sex creates gendered behaviour
What happens during puberty?
Hypothalamus releases a hormone which affects the anterior pituitary gland
This causes gonads to become more active
They control the development of SSCs
What characteristics is testosterone associated with?
Aggressive behaviour, high sex drive and poor language development
How does rearing influence gender identity?
A child develops their own gender identity by being told they are either male or female
What are disorders of sexual development (DSDs)?
Physical biological conditions
What is the most common DSD?
How many people does it affect?
1 in 2000 births involve atypical genitals
This makes the sex of the child unclear
Around how many children have an abnormality in physical/biological sex?
1 in 100
This includes chromosomal and physical development differences
When does a DSD occur?
When the reproductive or sexual anatomy is not standard for male or female
Why may a DSD not be apparent at birth?
At puberty, sex hormones become active and the DSD may then be discovered
How does parental behaviour influence gender identity?
- parents act as role models for their children
- child-parent interactions vary depending on the sex of the child
- gender-appropriate toys and activities are given to the child
What is meant by parental expectation in gender identity?
Parents have expectations of what their children are likely to become when they get older depending on their biological sex
What is meant by a ‘gender role’?
There are certain behaviours, attitudes and characteristics associated with gender roles
These become stereotypes
What is the difference in gender role stereotypes for males and females?
The distance in gender role stereotypes is more narrow for males
There is more pressure on them as it is less acceptable for them to display feminine characteristics
What does the social learning theory state?
Children are encouraged to do the appropriate sex-based activities
How do parents have an influence in social learning theory?
Traditional roles are fed to children in traditional families
How does the media have an influence in social learning theory?
it portrays traditional roles for males and females
e.g. females are placed in a traditional domestic role
How do schools have an influence in social learning theory?
they transmit the information of gender role stereotypes to the children
What process leads to male gender identity developing according to social learning theory?
Rewards for masculine behaviour and punishments for feminine behaviour
The child begins imitating males as these are role models
The male gender identity begins to develop
What is the biggest influence on gender identity according to social learning theory?
Behaviour of the parents
The parents are in the roles that children will begin to imitate
According to cognitive developmental theory, what are the 3 stages of gender identity development?
- gender identity
- gender stability
- gender constancy
What happens during the gender identity stage?
What age does this occur?
The child recognises that they are male or female
They begin to notice other people’s gender as well
Occurs around 2 years of age
What happens during the gender stability stage?
At what age does this occur?
The child understands that their gender is fixed and they will be male/female when they are older
Happens around 4 years of age
What happens during the gender constancy phase?
At what age does this occur?
A child recognises that cosmetic changes will not alter sex
Occurs at 5-7 years of age
How do peers influence gender identity?
At what age is this apparent?
Peers encourage separation between genders during play
Preference for same sex playmates and avoidance of playmates of the opposite sex
Apparent before age of 3
What starts to develop around age 3-4 years?
Boys tend to play sports in large groups and girls tend to play in smaller groups
How does the media influence gender role?
- toys are stereotyped
- females are usually under-represented in children’s books
- men outnumber women in programmes and adverts
- men are paid more for doing the same job
What are the similarities in gender and cognitive abilities?
- general intelligence
- learning and memory
- complex cognitive tasks
What are the differences in gender and cognitive abilities?
- Women tend to have better verbal ability
2. men tend to have better spatial ability and maths ability
Why do boys tend to be better at math than females?
Due to their school experiences
They do more maths at school and get more attention from male teachers