Sex refers to the permanent and immutable biological characteristics common to individuals in all societies and cultures, while gender defines traits forged throughout the history of social relations. Gender, although it originates in objective biological divergences, goes far beyond the physiological and biological specifics of the two sexes in terms of the roles each is expected to play. Gender differences are social constructs, inculcated on the basis of a specific society’s particular perceptions of the physical differences and the assumed tastes, tendencies and capabilities of men and women. Gender differences, unlike the immutable characteristics of sex, are universally conceded in historical and comparative social analyses to be variants that are transformed over time and from one culture to the next, as societies change and evolve.
Gender relations are accordingly defined as the specific mechanisms whereby different cultures determine the functions and responsibilities of each sex. They also determine access to material resources, such as land, credit and training, and more ephemeral resources, such as power. The implications for everyday life are many, and include the division of labor, the responsibilities of family members inside and outside the home, education and opportunities for professional advancement and a voice in policy-making.