Sex refers to the biological characteristics which define humans as female or male. These sets of biological characteristics are not mutually exclusive as there are individuals who possess both, but these characteristics tend to differentiate humans as males and females.

Sexual rights

    Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to: the highest attainable standard of health in relation to sexuality, including access to sexual and reproductive health care services; seek, receive and impart information in relation to sexuality; sexuality education; respect for bodily integrity; choice of partner; decide to be sexually active or not; consensual sexual relations; consensual marriage; decide whether or not, and when to have children; and pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.

Sex roles

    Sex roles may therefore be contrasted with gender roles, since sex roles refer to an occupation or biological function for which a necessary qualification is to belong to one particular sex category. For example, pregnancy is a female sex role because only members of the female sex may bear children.

Strategic Gender Interests

    Strategic Gender Interests (SGIs) are identified by women as a result of their subordinate social status, and tend to challenge gender divisions of labour power and control, and traditionally defined norms and roles. SGIs vary according to particular contexts and may include such issues as legal rights, domestic violence, equal wages, and women's control over their bodies.

Structural gender inequality

    exists where a system of gender discrimination is practiced by public or social institutions. Structural gender inequality is more entrenched if it is maintained by administrative rules and laws, rather than by only custom and traditions.

Strategic needs

    Unlike practical needs, strategic needs arise out of an understanding and analysis of women's subordinate situation in society (conscientisation). Strategic needs are actions and strategies which are required to bring about stractural change and empowerment. These may also be variously expressed; a need for political and legislative reform to grant constitutional equality to women; reproductive rights; state accession to CEDAW; a political voice; action on violence against women.


    is the ability of people to improve themselves out of their own resources, by their own efforts. But here the term is given the special - and common - meaning of people's advancement by their own efforts within the existing social structure. This meaning of self-reliance implies that development problems arise from inadequacies in people's present abilities and efforts, rather than from inadequacies in society, or from structural inequality. This definition enables us to make a useful distinction between "self-reliance" and "empowerment", where the latter means taking power in both the individual and social plans. Where women's development involves overcoming a social system of discrimination against women, it is inadequate to discuss the development process purely in terms of women's self-improvement or increased self-reliance; we need also to discuss women's collective action for increased empowerment.


    Persons who were not employed but performed some work for profit or family gain, in cash or in kind. Persons having an enterprise, which may be a business enterprise, a farm, or a service undertaking. Includes employers, own account workers, members of producers' co-operatives, unpaid family workers and persons engaged in the production of economic goods and services for own and household consumption if such production comprises an important contribution to the total consumption of the household.

Sex ratio

    Women per 100 men. This can be specified for an age group, e.g. 65+, 80+.

Status in employment

    As defined by the International Classification by Status in Employment (ICSE 1993). The following groups are distinguished:

    • Contributing family workers - Those workers who hold a "self employment" job in a market -orientated establishment operated by a related person living in the same household, who cannot be regarded as a partner, because their degree of commitment to the operation of the establishment, in terms of working time (or other factors to be determined by national circumstances), is not at a level comparable to the head of the establishment.
    • Employee - A person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, commission, tips, piece-rates or pay-in-kind.
    • Employer - A person who operates his or her own economic enterprise, or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires one or more employees.
    • Own account worker - A person who operates his or her own economic enterprise, or engages independently in a profession or trade, and hires no employees.
    • Members of producers` cooperatives - A person with a self-employment type job (i.e. remuneration is directly dependent on profits from production) working in a cooperative producing goods and services, in which each member takes part on an equal footing with other members in determining the organization of production, sales and/or other work of the establishment, the investments and the distribution of the proceeds of the establishment amongst their members.
    • Workers not classifiable by status - Includes those for whom insufficient relevant information is available, and/or who cannot be included in any of the preceding categories.