“Gender” refers to cultural and social attitudes that together shape and sanction “feminine” and “masculine” behaviours, products, technologies, environments, and knowledges. “Feminine” and “masculine” describe attitudes and behaviours on a continuum of gender identities. Gender does not necessarily match sex.
Gender comes into play when cultural attitudes and societal factors are important to a project. Gender may play a role in all studies involving human beings. Incorporating gender in the analysis requires researchers to be aware that men and women may have differing needs and expectations for outcomes and may interpret their needs influenced by stereotypes and normative expectations because societies are essentially structured around a gendered division of labour. It is therefore crucial for the researcher to reflect on cultural attitudes and particularly on those “taken-for-granted”, invisible assumptions that affect research. When gender assumptions are invisible and remain unexamined, they may introduce bias into science.