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Table 1 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) definitions of sex and gender [24]

From: Integrating and evaluating sex and gender in health research

Variable Definition
Sex The biological and physiological characteristics that distinguish males from femalesa
Gender The socially constructed roles, expectations, relationships, behaviours, relative power, and other traits that societies ascribe to women, men and people of diverse gender identitiesb
  1. aIt should, however, be recognised that the assumption that the population can be divided neatly into male/female categories does not accurately reflect the full diversity of human biology, given that approximately 1.7% of the population is intersex [45]; hence the concept of sex as a male/female binary is, itself, a social process [46]
  2. bThere is a need in health research to move beyond static, binary categorisations of gender, given that gender exists on a continuum and is dynamic in varying over time and across cultures [36]. Researchers are cautioned to examine their tools and analyses for potentially reproducing the gender binary and rendering invisible the experiences of persons for whom binary categorisations may be insufficient, including transgendered persons [47]