Gender refers to the psychological, social and cultural differences between males and females; sex therefore is the physiological and anatomical differences between the male and female bodies. Most socio-biologists believe that the differences in sex account for the differences in the thinking and behaviour of men and women. However, sociologists argue that our gender identity is formed through socialisation. .
From the moment one is born depending on sex s/he is tagged, labelled with either a pink or blue band, a visual indicator of biological sex, which arguably will determine how every person who comes into contact with the child, will interact with them. Every institution in society functions and regenerates these expectations, families, schools, businesses, the media, the law and politics. Thus gender structures every aspect of an individual's life through social relationships and all forms of interaction with the wider society. In this sense socialisation can be problematic, an individuals gender construction may be based on inequality or the expectations of the socialising agents within a greater ideological society. .
This essay will begin from the standpoint that western societies are dominated by patriarchal and post capitalist ideals, which placed men and women firmly in to two spheres. Consequently the focus of this discussion will be the inequalities and differences, which debatably occur both in the home and in the workplace. Finally, educational institutions are areas where many excellent studies and research into gender inequality have occurred, however, this has been discussed at great length in other summative work thus will not be mentioned further here.
Bristow (1997) argues that social and cultural relations are affected by economic change. Marxist writers note that family life pre-capitalism depended on a working relationship; work and familial relations all took place within one sphere, capitalism created a two sphere environment, the private home and the public workplace.