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Table 1 Three interrelated dimensions of gender

From: Gender-related variables for health research

Gender refers to sociocultural factors that shape the identities, attitudes, behaviors, bodily appearances, and habits of women, men, and gender-diverse individuals. Gender is multidimensional [17] and complex, changing as social norms and values change. Gender also intersects with other sociocultural categories. The gender variables developed here appear alongside self-reported variables collected in our survey, including: sex assigned at birth, self-reported gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, individual and household income, and education, among others (see SI text).
• Gender Norms consist of legislated and both spoken and unspoken cultural rules produced through social institutions (such as governments, families, schools, workplaces, laboratories, universities, or boardrooms), cultural products (such as technologies, science, literature, and social media), and broader local and global cultures [18, 19]. These norms build upon and reinforce gender stereotypes and perpetuate gendered power relations in workplaces, families and other institutions. They operate as rules and expectations of what behaviors and activities are appropriate for women, men, and gender-diverse individuals in a given social setting [14, 18, 20]. Here, we measure individuals’ adherence to gender norms through self-reported behaviors (not attitudes or stereotypes)
• Gender-Related Traits refer to aspects of a person’s gender identity not captured by self-reported categories (such as man, woman, non-binary, and gender-queer) and concern how individuals or groups perceive and present themselves in relation to gender norms [15]. Our key interest is how individuals think and act vis-à-vis cultural meanings ascribed to gender [15, 16]. We measure gender-related traits through self-reported assessments of personality attributes.
• Gender Relations refer to power relations, economic relations, affective relations, and symbolic relations (including speech and writing) between individuals of different gender identities as these relate to gender norms [17, 21]. They concern how we interact with people and institutions in the world around us, based on our sex and our gender identity [19, 21, 22]. Gender relations encompass how gender shapes social interactions in romantic relationships, friendships, families, schools, workplaces and public settings, for instance, the power relation between a man patient and woman physician.
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