Sex
identifies the biological differences between women and men.

Gender
is the culturally specific set of characteristics that identifies the social behaviour of women and men and the relationship between them. Gender, therefore, refers not simply to women or men, but to the relationship between them, and the way it is socially constructed. Because it is a relational term, gender must include women and men. Like the concepts of class, race and ethnicity, gender is an analytical tool for understanding social processes.

Gender Equality
is the process of being fair to women and men. To ensure fairness, measures must often be available to compensate for historical and social disadvantages that prevent women and men from otherwise operating on a level playing field. Equity leads to equality.

Gender Equality means that women and men enjoy the same status. Gender equality means that women and men have equal conditions for realizing their full human rights and potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results. Originally, it was believed that equality could be achieved by giving women and men the same opportunities, on the assumption that this would bring sameness of results. However, same treatment was found not necessarily to yield equal results. Today, the concept of equality acknowledges that different treatment of women and men may sometimes be required to achieve sameness of results, because of different life conditions or to compensate for past discrimination. It is this notion of equality that is embedded in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Gender equality is therefore the equal valuing by society of both the similarities and differences between women and men, and the varying roles that they play.

Gender Identity
The gender that a person sees themselves as. This can include refusing to label oneself with a gender. Gender identity is also often conflated with sexual orientation, but this is inaccurate. Gender identity does not cause sexual orientation. For example, a masculine woman is not nescesarily a lesbian.

Gender Identity Disorder
The term used for a condition defined in the DSM4 by the American Psychiatric Association.

Gender-neutral
Non-discriminatory language used to describe relationships-e.g. “spouse” and “partner” are gender-neutral alternatives to the gender-specific words “husband,” “wife,” “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.”

Gender Queer (or Genderqueer)
A person who redefines or plays with gender, or who refuses gender altogether. A label for people who bend/break the rules of gender and blur the boundaries.

Gender Role
How “masculine” or “feminine” an individual acts. Societies commonly have norms regarding how males and females should behave, expecting people to have personality characteristics and/or act a certain way based on their biological sex.

Gender-variant / Gender non-conforming
Displaying gender traits that are not normatively associated with their biological sex. “Feminine” behavior or appearance in a male is gender-variant as is “masculine” behavior or appearance a female. Gender-variant behavior is culturally specific.

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