While the spread of the word in science publications can be attributed to the influence of feminism, its use as a synonym for sex is attributed to the failure to grasp the distinction made in feminist theory, and the distinction has sometimes become blurred with the theory itself; David Haig stated, "Among the reasons that working scientists have given me for choosing gender rather than sex in biological contexts are desires to signal sympathy with feminist goals, to use a more academic term, or to avoid the connotation of copulation." In legal cases alleging discrimination, sex is usually preferred as the determining factor rather than gender as it refers to biology rather than socially constructed norms which are more open to interpretation and dispute.Julie Greenberg writes that although gender and sex are separate concepts, they are interlinked in that gender discrimination often results from stereotypes based on what is expected of members of each sex.and people are a part of an ontologically and epistemologically constructed set of names and labels.Such as, being female characterizes one as a woman, and being a woman signifies one as weak, emotional, and irrational, and is incapable of actions attributed to a "man".Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity.Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex (i.e., the state of being male, female, or an intersex variation), sex-based social structures (i.e., gender roles), or gender identity.Before his work, it was uncommon to use the word gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories.
Other sciences, such as sexology and neuroscience, are also interested in the subject.There are qualitative analyses that explore and present the representations of gender; however, feminists challenge these dominant ideologies concerning gender roles and biological sex.One's biological sex is directly tied to specific social roles and the expectations.While the social sciences sometimes approach gender as a social construct, and gender studies particularly do, research in the natural sciences investigates whether biological differences in males and females influence the development of gender in humans; both inform debate about how far biological differences influence the formation of gender identity.
In the English literature, there is also a trichotomy between biological sex, psychological gender, and social gender role.
The popular use of gender simply as an alternative to sex (as a biological category) is also widespread, although attempts are still made to preserve the distinction.