What's gender and gender identity?

So, what do we mean by “gender” and “gender identity” and how do gender stereotypes lead to violence?

Here’s a quick way to remember. The term ‘sex’ refers to your biology, while ‘gender’ refers to your internal sense of self, and the ways you express that to the world. Many people’s sex and gender line up in the way society expects them to. For others, like trans, non-binary, and two-spirit people, their gender is not the same as the sex they were assigned at birth.

Gender is a complicated topic

So, gender is a more complicated topic than we used to think, and we are learning more about it every day. It’s time we allow people to be individuals, rather than limiting gender expression in a binary way.

Here’s some more information about gender.

Understanding Gender The Genderbread Person

At the root of gender-based violence

Power is at the root of gender-based violence. Inequality between genders creates unbalanced power dynamics. The history of devaluing women and femininity and valuing men and masculinity has created an imbalance of power. Violence, whether verbal, emotional, or physical, is often used to maintain this imbalance of power.

While we often think of violence as a physical act, not all violence leaves bruises and scars. Abuse is also a violent act, though it may not result in physical harm.

Abuse is anything that limits a person’s freedom or feeling of safety, and it comes in many forms:

  • Street harassment
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Inappropriately suggestive comments, sexual jokes or threats
  • Family violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Cyber abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Spiritual abuse
  • Emotional and psychological abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • And any other actions that reduce freedom, independence and self-esteem