Welcome to our eleventh online lecture in the Fall 2015 Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Maine at Augusta. This week, we consider the subjects of gender and gender stratification. Your textbook introduces a broad range of material regarding the sociology of gender. In this lecture, we augment that information and focus it a bit, first on the task of identifying the distinction between sex and gender and second on the available evidence regarding gender discrimination.
The Distinction Between Sex and Gender
In the field of sociology, when we use the terms “sex” and “gender,” we don’t intend them to be synonyms. Rather, sex refers to our understanding of biological differences, while gender refers to differences in the expected behavior of people who are perceived to have a particular sex. Perceptions of both sex and gender can be strongly conditioned by culture and time. Watch this video for a consideration of the circumstances in which the social force of gender expectations become especially apparent:
Gender Discrimination: Some Evidence
Just as sex and gender are distinct sociological entities that commonly get wrapped together in casual discussion, so prejudice and discrimination are distinct from one another yet often confused. This video considers that distinction, then examines some empirical evidence for the continuing significance of gender discrimination in American social life. The video concludes with an examination of the sex gap in pay: