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The gender symbols often used to represent a female (left) or male (right)

Gender means 'type'. It is a word commonly used for a person's sex (male or female). When people use the word gender in this way, it is often because sex has many other meanings, making it easy to misunderstand.

In social sciences, there is a difference between 'sex' and 'gender':

  • The word 'sex' describes an act of intercourse between two people.
  • The word 'gender' describes someone's body. It says whether someone is physically male or female and also describes someone's personality or character. It says if someone feels or acts more like a female (feminine) or more like a male (masculine).

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