[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 27, 1991

The Eternal Battle of Sex vs Gender-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1991;266(20):2833. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470200045027

In Reply.  —Before addressing the interesting question raised by Ms Fletcher, I would like to point out that the material from "Instructions for Preparing Structured Abstracts"1 that is objected to as incorrect usage is adapted from another source (see the footnote on page 42).That aside, the distinction between gender and sex is an interesting one. Although Webster's2 gives "sex" as the first meaning of gender, the definition of sex includes no mention of gender. Bernstein, in The Careful Writer,3 concurs with Ms Fletcher on the proper use of gender: "Gender is a grammatical term, denoting (in English) whether words pertaining to a noun or pronoun are classed as masculine, feminine, or neuter. It is not a substitute for sex (but, then, what is?)." Miller and Swift, in The Handbook of Nonsexist Writing,4 refer to two aspects of gender, making a distinction between "grammatical" and "natural"