1st Edition

Sex and Gender A Contemporary Reader

Edited By Alice Sullivan, Selina Todd Copyright 2023
    294 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Sex and Gender: A Contemporary Reader is a much-needed exploration of the relationship between sex, gender and gender identity. Its multidisciplinary approach provides fascinating perspectives from the sciences, social sciences and humanities, as well as biology, neuroscience, medicine, law, sociology and English literature. The 15 chapters are original contributions, authored by scholars who are leaders in their respective fields.

    This thought-provoking collection offers significant methodological, theoretical and empirical insights into one of the most fraught debates in contemporary politics and academia. It provides a broad-ranging introduction to the issues central to questions about how and why sex matters from a range of disciplinary perspectives, drawing out the social, political and legal implications.

    Questions addressed include:

    • Is sex binary?
    • What is a woman?
    • Why do we need data on sex?

    Also discussed are topics widely debated today such as sports, feminism, sex and inequality, sex-based rights, puberty suppression, criminal justice and gender dysphoria.

    Sex and Gender: A Contemporary Reader is a timely introduction to contemporary debates on sex and gender. It is an accessible text for both general readers and for students of gender issues across a wide range of disciplines including sociology, education, history, philosophy and gender studies.

    1. Introduction Alice Sullivan and Selina Todd

    2. Two Sexes Emma Hilton and Colin Wright

    3. Sex and the Brain: I Still Haven’t Found What I Wasn't Looking For Sophie Scott

    4. Is Womanhood a Social Fact? Kathleen Stock

    5. The History of Sex: Sex Denial and Gender Identity Ideology Jane Clare Jones

    6. Sex and Gender in Second-Wave Feminism Selina Todd

    7. Why Do We Need Data on Sex? Alice Sullivan, Kath Murray and Lisa Mackenzie

    8. Sex and Gender in Law Rosemary Auchmuty and Rosa Freedman

    9. Sex, Gender, and Equality in the United States: Confusion, Conflict, and Consequences Callie H. Burt

    10. Psychosocial factors and gender dysphoria: emerging theories Lisa Littman

    11. The Technology of Puberty Suppression Michael Biggs

    12. Schools, Feminism and Gender-Identity Theory Shereen Benjamin

    13. The Children Who Wouldn’t Grow Up: Gender in children’s literature over fifty years Susan Matthews

    14. Sex, Gender Identity and Sport Cathy Devine

    15. Sex, Gender, Identity and Criminology Jo Phoenix



    Alice Sullivan is Professor of Sociology at University College London, UK. She was director of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BSC70) for ten years from 2010 to 2020. She has published extensively on social, educational and health inequalities using longitudinal data analysis.

    Selina Todd is Professor of Modern History at Oxford University and a Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, UK. Her books include The People: The Rise and Fall of the Working Class 1910–2010 (2014) and Tastes of Honey: The Making of Shelagh Delaney and a Cultural Revolution (2019).

    'Sex and gender have become highly politicized characters in confused and often ill-informed debates. This book, with scholarly contributions from across the disciplines, throws a clear and immensely welcome light on why both sex and gender matter, and how the relationship between the two is a matter of evidence, not of personal opinion. Societies invent gender, but sex is an immutable biological fact. A public policy that ignores this difference risks unravelling many gains in women’s rights. This is not just a matter of obscure academic argument, but one that concerns us all.'

    Ann Oakley, Professor of Sociology and Social Policy, Social Research Institute, University College London, UK

    'An important and extremely timely collection of essays that presents a valuable overview of current research investigating the relationship between sex, gender and gender identity in the UK today. The contributors to this volume are all senior researchers in their fields who conduct evidence-based research and believe, in issues as diverse as criminology, sports science, children’s literature, education and many others, that sex matters. This book pays tribute to their tenacity in researching the erasure of sex categories in their fields in the face of the many obstacles that have been placed in the way of "gender-critical" scholars.'

    Sarah Pedersen, Professor in Communication and Media at Robert Gordon University, UK

    'Debates on sex and gender go back a long way, but recently they’ve become more contentious—and for many people, more confusing—than ever. This collection, covering a range of subjects from biology and neuroscience to law and public policy, is a welcome attempt to clarify what’s at stake in current disputes about the significance of sex and gender both in theory and in everyday life. I hope the book will be read by the confused and the undecided as well as by those who are already inclined to agree with it.'

    Deborah Cameron, Professor of Language and Communication, University of Oxford

    'An important collection of essays on the relationship between sex, gender and identity that questions many assumptions, clarifies many issues and sets out a framework for further research and discussion.'

    Kenan Malik, Writer and broadcaster, and author of Not So Black and White

    '“No debate.” Thankfully, Sullivan and Todd have boldly ignored this diktat from activists. Doing so has allowed them to produce a valuable, accessible, and urgently-needed resource for those of us interested in sex and gender and its policy implications. Filled with cutting-edge science, provocative, evidence-based arguments, and historical and cultural context, Sex and Gender provides a thorough treatment of gender-critical feminism from accomplished scholars. Highly recommended.'

    Carole Hooven, Department of Psychology, Harvard University. Author of "Testosterone: The Story of the Hormone That Dominates and Divides us".

    Edited collections of academic essays are often hit-and-miss. A good collection has 50% decent essays; an excellent collection, which is rare, has 80%. I have now finished reading all of the essays in Sex and Gender, edited by Sullivan and Todd. There are 14 essays and an editors' introduction. Every single one of the contributions is excellent. It is an unusual collection of absolutely first-rate work covering science, social sciences, and humanities. The sex/gender debate is very heated, to say the least. This book shines a great deal of light on the issues. The essays are all clearly written, and will appeal to the general reader as well as to the specialist.

    Professor Gary Francione, Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of Law and Nicholas deB. Katzenbach Scholar of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University