Sociological differences between women and men: Implications for autoimmunity

Andrea T. Borchers, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


There are an enormous number of incorrect stereotypes that characterize the differences between women and men. Indeed, nearly all of these stereotypes are based on cultural inaccuracies and faulty data without consideration of biology and the distinct sociological differences between genders. Sociological differences are those that relate to the development, structure, interaction and behavior of organized groups of human beings, or societies, and their values and beliefs. Gender is a social construct referring "to the culturally and historically based differences in the roles, attitudes and behaviors of men and women" ([1], p.1) as shaped by norms and stereotypes. Sex, on the other hand, serves to classify living things according to their reproductive organs and functions assigned by chromosomal complement (according to the US Institute of Medicine) and the physical and biological characteristics arising from these organs and functions. The two terms are generally viewed as dichotomous; however, they are closely intertwined in as yet hardly understood ways, and it is frequently difficult to distinguish between them since gendered life experiences can have profound effects on body structure and function [2]. In this review, we will examine to what extent gender roles and stereotypes shape the daily lives of women in their roles as students, employees, wives, and mothers and their health. These data have implications for the etiology of autoimmunity and also for differences in the natural history of disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - May 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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