Terminology & Terms Defined

These terms are shared in an effort to educate and we recognize that not everyone will agree with every definition presented below. If you have any comments or suggestions, please reach out to SJICR.

Biological Sex: This can be considered our “packaging” and is determined by our chromosomes (such as XX or XY); our hormones (estrogen/progesterone or testosterone); and our internal and external genitalia (vulva, clitoris, vagina, penis, testicles).

Gender: A set of social, psychological, and emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations that classify an individual as feminine, masculine, androgynous or other. Gender characteristics can change over time and are differentiated by culture. Gender is often linked with sex, but this is inaccurate because sex refers to birth genitalia and/or chromosomes or hormones and gender refers to social and emotional feelings and norms.

Gender Binary: The concept that everyone must be one of two genders: male or female: The term also describes the system in which a society divides people into male and female gender roles, gender identities, and attributes.

Gender Role: A set of traditional and stereotypical roles, traits, dress, characteristics, qualities, mannerisms, and behaviors that are usually attributed to “males” or “females.”

Feminism: A collection of movements and theoretical frameworks geared at establishing and defending equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women compared to their male counterparts

Glass Ceiling: Women's restricted entry into top positions, even where most of the workers are women

Glass Escalator: Rapid promotion of men in women-dominated occupations

Intersectionality: The study of combined and intersecting effects social identities and corresponding systems of oppression.

Male Gaze: Cultural creation of women as the objects of men's sexual fantasies

Marriage Equality: The right of all people to legally marry the person they choose, without regard to gender identity, sex identity, or sexual orientation

Matrix of Domination: The combined effects of discrimination by gender, race and ethnicity, social class, religion, nationality, and other disadvantaged statuses

Microinequities: Denigration of women in face-to-face encounters at work, in school, in political and other organizations

Misogyny: The hatred or dislike of women or girls as manifested in (but not limited to) emotional, sexual or physical violence as well as the objectification of women and girls.

Patriarchal Privilege: Men's advantages over women in their social group

Patriarchy: A social system in which men's systematic and pervasive domination of women as built into the social order. In such social systems, men's control of economic resources, entitlement to sexual services, domination of political processes, and positions of authority are deemed as normative.

Phallocentric: Culturally male-centered, dominated by male symbolism

Second Shift: The second work shift that many women work on a daily basis due to women's continued responsibility for the maintenance of the household and the needs of her husband and children even when she has a full-time job

Sexism: Systemic enforcement and belief in male dominance and control across multiple levels of society which results in keeping women subordinate to men

Undoing Gender: Reversing and counteracting the effects of gender discrimination

Womanism: Stemming from Black Feminist thought, womanism is aimed to speak to the intersectional oppression of Black women by both racism and sexism