It is important to know how gender is defined and used in this monograph, and how sex and gender differ.
Explore a list of words and terms associated with gender and mathematics learning.
Part of a person’s personal and social identity. It refers to the way a person feels, presents, and is recognised within the community. A person’s gender may be reflected in outward social markers, including their name, outward appearance, mannerisms and dress.
Definition drawn from Australian Government (2015): “The preferred Australian Government approach is to collect and use gender information” (p. 4).
The categories of ‘gender’ to be used for government data gathering are: M (male), F (female) or X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified).
A mixture of categories for gender self-identification has been used. Historically (traditionally), the binary categorisations of: M (male) and F (female), or boys and girls, or men and women have been used.
A third category, for those who identify as non-binary (or “X”), consistent with Australian Government (2015) guidelines, is being added. Another term commonly used for non-binary is gender diverse.
While some researchers are adamant that the binary categories of ‘male’ and ‘female’ as gender identifiers are inappropriate, many researchers continue to use these terms.
Since the study of “gender differences” with respect to mathematics learning has generally focussed on the binary categories of Males/Boys/Men and Females/Girls/Women, in this monograph we focus on these two categories. At the same time, we wish to emphasize that we recognise that there are a number of individuals who self-identify as nonbinary; we do not discuss findings for this third category here.
The chromosomal, gonadal, and anatomical characteristics associated with biological sex.
The categories of ‘sex’ to be used for government data gathering are: M (male), F (female) or X (indeterminate/intersex/unspecified).
This definition is drawn from Australian government (2015). Mathematics education researchers generally do not gather data on biological sex.
People who are born with genetic, hormonal, or physical sex characteristics that are not typically ‘male’ or ‘female’. Intersex people have a diversity of bodies and gender identities, and may identify as male or female or neither.
This definition is drawn from Australian government (2015).
Although sex and gender are conceptually distinct, these terms are commonly used interchangeably, including in legislation (Australian Government, 2015, p. 4). Although usage in research has changed over time, regrettably some mathematics education researchers still use the terms loosely.