Gender Research

Recognizing the complexity of gender, many sports organizations have discarded sex tests and inspections. Scholars across a spectrum of disciplines are examining whether the division of gender into two narrowly defined categories makes either biological or social sense ­ and are striving to invent a new language to provide a more accurate view.

Stanford’s unique emphasis on interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, along with its breadth of expertise, is well suited to the job. Specialists from throughout the university have developed policy recommendations on genetic testing and on the ethics and scientific validity of research into behavioral genetics. Now biologists here are hoping that the social sciences can help them separate society’s beliefs about sexual identity from the interpretation of physical data. Experts in law, feminism, social history and anthropology are turning to biology to illuminate their own perspectives on sex and gender. Such cross-fertilization will help Stanford unravel natural truth from social stereotype and open up a new understanding of the human body.

In women’s studies, “sex” describes biology ­ the anatomical and physiological characteristics we call male and female. “Gender” signifies the social and cultural overlay that makes a man “masculine” and a woman

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