What is Gender? and Gender Equality?

Gender is – Gender is the social difference between women and men. Gender generally refers to the relationship between men and women, boys and girls, and how these social relations are then constructed.

Gender roles are generally dynamic and can change over time. The following below is an explanation of gender starting from the understanding, roles, gender equality and justice that you need to know.

Definition of Gender

Gender is a series of characteristics that are interrelated and differentiate between masculinity and femininity. These characteristics can then include gender, be it male, female, or intersex.

This is determined based on gender, be it in social structures such as gender roles or gender identity. People who do not identify themselves as men or women are then grouped into non-binary or genderqueer societies.

Several cultures themselves generally have specific gender roles, namely “men” and “women” which are collectively referred to as the third gender, such as the Bissu group in Bugis society in Sulawesi and hijra people in South Asia.

A New Zealand sexologist, John Money, then sparked a debate about the differences in the use of biological sex and gender as roles in 1955. Previously, the word “gender” itself was rarely used to refer to anything other than grammatical gender in various linguistics.

This definition itself was not immediately recognized, until finally in the 1970s feminist theory adopted the concept of the difference between biological sex and gender as a social construction.

This definition is still used in several contexts such as social sciences and several documents published by the World Health Organization. Other contexts also use the term “gender” as a substitute for “sex”.

For example, in animal or non-human studies, gender is then used to refer to gender.

This change in the meaning of the word “gender” can be traced back to the 1980s. In 1993, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) widely used gender as a substitute for the term gender.

In 2011, the FDA began using gender or sex for biological classification as well as gender for “a person’s self-representation of a woman, or a man or how he then responds to social institutions based on a person’s gender presentation.”

Some knowledge about gender is a branch of social science, namely gender studies. Sexology and neuroscience also then discuss a number of things about gender.

Gender studies themselves generally discuss gender as a social construction while sciences in the natural sciences discuss the biological differences between men and women and their influence on the development of human gender.

These two approaches then contribute to investigating how far biological differences will affect the formation of a person’s gender identity.

Gender and Sex Differences

The existence of men and women as two entities that are often differentiated in terms of gender (sex) and various other roles that must be performed.

But often these two concepts (sex and gender) are then interpreted as the same characteristics for a woman and a man. This understanding itself then places men and women in an unequal situation and creates various injustices.

Sex refers to gender differences which ultimately make natural differences between men and women based on their sex, biology, and are universally applicable and cannot be changed.

Gender is a difference in sex that is not caused by biological differences and is not the nature of God, but is created by both men and women through a long socio-cultural process.

Differences in behavior between men and women, apart from being caused by biological factors, are also mostly formed through social and cultural processes.

So that you don’t misunderstand the difference between gender and sex, the following is the meaning of the two terms.


Sex is the division of two sexes, namely men and women, which are then determined biologically. Sex is also directly related to the basic physical characteristics and functions of humans, starting from hormone levels, chromosomes, and the shape of the reproductive organs.

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For example in men and women who have different reproductive organs. Both sexes also have different types and levels of hormones, even though they both have the hormones testosterone and estrogen. This is then called the primary sex characteristics.

In addition to primary sex characteristics, there are also secondary sex characteristics, such as differences in facial hair, breast tissue, and voice. This is also a sex characteristic as well as differences in the primary sex characteristics mentioned above.

Although the sex differences are quite clear, there are also congenital conditions that cause a person to be born with a combination of male and female sex characteristics (multiple sex), both physically and genetically. This condition is also known as intersex.


In contrast to sex, gender is a society’s perception that is socially constructed and refers to a person’s role, behavior and identity.

In this case, gender is not determined by sex. There are several terms included in the discussion of gender, including the following.

  • Gender identity: Gender identity is a person’s view of their own gender, regardless of what gender they have at birth. Some common gender identities include male, female, non-binary, and genderqueer or transgender.
  • Cisgender: Cisgender is a term that is often used for an individual who feels that his gender identity is in line with the sex he has.
  • Transgender : The term transgender generally refers to someone who feels that his identity is different from the sex he has.
  • Non Binary : Non Binary is a term used to describe someone who does not want their identity to be categorized as male or female.

Apart from these terms, there is also the term gender expression. This term itself refers to how a person then expresses himself, both in dress, voice, behavior, or choice of hairstyle without being fixated on his gender.

This term is generally attached to gender expressions including, feminine, androgynous and masculine.

In taking care of children, earning a living, and doing various household chores (cooking, washing, etc.) then there are roles that can be played by both men and women, so that they can then exchange places without violating each other’s nature.

Thus, these jobs can then be termed as gender roles. If so gender roles are considered as something that can change and be adapted to the conditions experienced by a person.

So there is no reason for us to think it’s strange for a husband whose daily job is cooking and taking care of his children, while his wife works outside the home.

Because at other times and conditions, when the husband then chooses to work outside the home and the wife chooses to do household chores, it is also not something that is considered strange.

Gender Equality and Justice

Gender equality is a condition in which women and men can enjoy equal status and have the same conditions to fully realize their human rights and their potential for development in all areas of life.

In other words, this means that all human beings have reasonable and equitable access and control over resources and their benefits, so that everyone can then participate in them, and make decisions about and benefit from existing development.

Gender equality itself has to do with gender justice. Gender justice as a process and fair treatment of men and women. Gender justice as justice in the treatment of women and men, based on their respective needs.

This includes equal treatment or treatment that is different but considered equal in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities. Gender justice means no standardization of roles, double burden, violence, subordination and marginalization.

In some situations, there are still people who still think that talking about gender equality is something that is far-fetched or something that is too exaggerated. The group of people who think like this then assume that the position of men and women in the family and in society must be different.

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In addition, the terminology of gender equality is often misinterpreted by taking over jobs and responsibilities to men.

This is an explanation of gender starting from the meaning, role, equality and justice of gender.

Gender Related Books

The following are books related to gender that can be your reading reference so you can better understand how gender works in everyday life.

1. Gender Sociology

Discussion of gender today still raises many pros and cons. Not only that, people’s understanding of gender is still not entirely correct. Because there are still many who interpret it as a gender difference.

Gender itself is the difference in roles and responsibilities between women and men. In addition, these roles differ in each region, due to different social and cultural constructions.

For this reason, these roles and responsibilities can still change, depending on the social and cultural context that influences them.

This Gender Sociology book is an introductory lecture book, which is intended for students who want to understand gender in a basic way but still discuss it comprehensively. This book is compiled according to the values ​​that are developing in society at this time.

For this reason, this book can certainly be the main guide for sociology students and lecturers, especially since the Gender Sociology course is a compulsory subject for all Sociology Departments in Indonesia.

2. Gender Ideology in Indonesian Novels in the Reformation Era

There will be four things that readers will find from this manuscript. First, Indonesian novels in the reform era represent the roles and identities of traditional, modern and postmodern men and women.

Second, the forms of gender ideology include patriarchal ideology, familialism ideology, ibuism ideology, and general sexist ideology. The four gender ideologies created the domestication of women’s positions and roles.

Third, religious interpretation; ethnic culture, economy, education, politics, mass media, and development have become factors that have contributed to, influenced, and supported the formation, institutionalization, and preservation of gender ideology in society which has resulted in women being marginalized and subordinated.

Fourth, gender injustice tends to be experienced by female characters in all novels.

3. Child Gender Development in a Psychological Perspective

Gender is a social concept that develops in children and is learned by children from the early stages of life. To understand how the concept of child gender develops towards a more complex and mature direction as they get older, a reference is needed as a reference.

The book on Child Gender Development in a Psychological Perspective describes how the concept of gender develops in children starting from the infant stage to the late childhood stage, where the concept of gender in children develops towards a more complex and more mature direction with age.

The author uses developmental psychology as the main approach. Then assisted by social psychology approaches and biological approaches in analyzing and reflecting on various references so as to produce complete writings and critical and comprehensive discussions.

4. Gender Responsive Policy Candidate Patterns for Women Regional Heads in Indonesia

This book was written in 2019 as the closing series of a five-year major study (2015-2019) conducted by the Gender and Politics Team, LIPI Political Research Center, regarding women regional heads who have been elected through direct Pilkada since the reform era.

This book is a synthesis of the results of a study by the LIPI Gender and Politics Team. The focus of this book is on the issue of candidacy (recruitment and candidacy) of women politicians to compete in direct local elections and gender responsive policies during the leadership of the female regional head.

Now we know that gender is a characteristic that is attached to women and men. You can read and obtain books related to gender at Sinaumedia.com .