How are women and men different?

Expert Answers
kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The answer to this question really depends on the context of your question: are you asking about sex or about gender? 

Sex is the primary physical characteristics and sexual organs that you are born with - as a result, at birth, babies are assigned one of two sexes: male or female. A person's biological sex can also contribute to difficult physical characteristics: for instance, females tend to have wider hips than males, and males tend to have higher levels of natural testosterone than females. 

Gender is a trickier idea to wrap your head around. For a long time in American culture, gender was seen as binary and directly correlative to a person's sex. Binary means that there were only two genders (masculine and feminine), and to directly correlate means that if you were male, you were masculine (and if you were female, feminine). There were no different combinations - that was just the way things were. 

However, these beliefs about gender are not universal, and in modern American culture, they are starting to change. You may have heard of the term "transgender". What this means is that a person who was born as one sex actually feels like he/she more closely identifies with the opposite gender (example: a male feels more feminine than masculine). This is a very controversial topic in today's society, but for more information, I would encourage you to research the LGBTQ community. 

A final note that I would like to be sure to include is the idea of sexual orientation, or the type of sex you are attracted to. This is a totally separate and third idea! However, because American society has been binary (reminder: only two options) for so long, it's gotten mixed up with sex and gender. If you rewind 100 years, society only accepted masculine males who like feminine females. However, today, you can get all sorts of combinations there! 

I hope you found this answer helpful!

gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Men and women are different in a number of ways.

  • Some physiological activities that only women are capable of include pregnancy, lactation, menstruation and menopause. Only women are capable of giving birth to offspring. 
  • There are obvious physical differences in terms of genitals. Apart from that, men have longer legs, a shorter trunk, smaller stomach, kidneys and liver, as compared to women. Men have broader shoulders and narrower hips as compared to women.
  • Women have higher life expectancy than men.
  • Men have more physical (brute) strength and a higher rate of metabolism.
  • The chromosomal pattern is different between men and women. Women have XX chromosomes, while men have XY chromosomes.
  • Men are much more prone to color blindness.
  • Men are more prone to almost all disease as compared to women.

These are only some of the differences between men and women. 

yaz711 | Student

  Men and women are different in a variety of ways, including their difference in their physique, how they socialize and process information.

Physical differences including:

- Size: Men generally have larger tissues, organs and limbs then females

- Sex: Men have external sex organs unlike their female counterparts.

- Hormone: Women experience periodic and fluctuating hormones throughout their lifetime including throughout menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause. Men on the other hand only experience a decrease in sexual hormones like women but only throughout a longer period of time which is sometimes referred too as "male menopause"

- Brain: While men have brains that are larger than females, different parts of their brains vary in size. For example: Women have larger frontal lobes which are responsible for problem solving. On the other hand men have larger amygdala which involves regulating sexual and social behavior.

Differences in interpersonal relations/Socialization:

-Body language: When communicating women will often maintain regular eye contact and use small verbal affirmation throughout the conversation such as 'yea' and 'mhmm'. Men do not require that same eye contact or verbal affirmation.

-Problem solving: When a group of men carry out a task a leader is usually designated based on ability. Women on the other hand use collective intelligence to arrive to the same conclusion. Men however are better problem solvers due to their ability to compartmentalize relationships and problem solving resulting in better efficiency than their female counterpart.

Social pressures: As social species these external pressures influence us heavily and is also a factor as to why women and men are so different. This factor has a a wide range of differences depending on beliefs, culture and location.

Processing information:

- This is linked to how men and women brains are wired and the effect of these connections. Men have around 4 times less as many neurons in their brains than women. Women have neurons connected between both sides of their brains. These differences in connection show the brain is capable of coming to the same conclusion through different ways and is likely why men are better focused at one task while women are known multitasks. Study shows that women are capable of holding three conversations at once among each other. Men's minds are more structural than women whose mind's are at times tied to emotions thus conjuring up different thoughts in association to it.