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What is Gender?

The concept of gender was developed in order to study the ways in which societies think about, organize and rank differentiation between the sexes, and how they standardize sexual behaviors. It takes categories like women, women, sex and sexuality; and concepts such as feminine, masculine, femininity and masculinity as social constructions rather than intangible natural data. Studying different gender configurations requires input from all academic disciplines, including life sciences. Entrenched ideas, which were long based on the notion of nature, are also re-examined. Different analytical grids highlight how access to power is affected by people’s sex, gender identity and sexuality, along with other kinds of inequalities and discriminations. Gender research nourishes both theoretical thought and public policy in regard to female/male equality.

Since the 1990s, the concept of gender has been adopted by the international academic community, as well as by major institutions, like the UN, the European Union and most NGOs. It is a useful tool for communication between the worlds of academic research, government officials and society.

On the IEC site (in French):
- Assises de l'IEC 2012: «Le genre, à quoi ça sert?» watch the videos
- Colloque «Mon corps a-t-il un sexe?» (2011) watch the videos

Other resources
- Genrimages, représentations sexuées dans l'audiovisuel, un site du Centre audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir go to the site
- Allodoxia. Observatoire critique de la vulgarisation, par Odille Fillod (allocataire IEC 2008) read the blog
- «Genre, état des lieux», interview de Laure Bereni par Mathieu Trachman, La Vie des idées (2011) read the interview
- «Tout sur les études de genre», avec Laure Bereni, Éric Fassin, Fabrice Virgili et Danièle Voldman, interrogés pour Mediapart par Antoine Perraud (2011) watch the videos

- «Le genre», avec Éric Fassin, Catherine Vidal, Cécile Breton, interrogés pour La Tête au carré (France Inter) par Mathieu Vidard (2011) listen
- «Hommes-femmes: pour Vidal, aucune différence dans le cerveau n'est innée», interview de Catherine Vidal pour Rue 89 par Renée Greusard (2012) read the article
- «Qu'est-ce que le Djendeure?», sur le site de l'association Mnémosyne, par Insolente Veggie (2013) go to the site