Sex segregation

Sex segregation

Sex segregation is the separation of people according to their gender.

The derogatory term gender apartheid (or sexual apartheid) has been applied to segregation of people by gender, implying that it is sexual discrimination. In some circumstances, gender segregation is a controversial policy, with critics contending that in most or all circumstances it is a violation of human rights, and supporters arguing that it is necessary to maintain decency, sacredness, modesty, female safetyAmnesty International includes segregated toilets among the measures to ensure the safety of girls in schools. " [ Six steps to stop violence against schoolgirls] ", Document ACT 77/008/2007, November 2007.] or the family unit.

Public facilities

In the interest of modesty, public toilets, public showers, dormitories, changing rooms, prisons and other areas are usually sex segregated, outside of a private home.


Sports are usually segregated on a gender basis. Even sports that do not rely on physical contact, such as archery or golf, have separate sporting events. It is only in the early years that boys and girls are permitted to play sports together.

To cater for the religious requirements of various ethnic groups, and for other preference reasons, sometimes separation is achieved by allocating times or facilities for the exclusive use of one gender, usually of women. This is sometimes done with public saunas, swimming pools and gymnasiums.

Many countries now have laws outlawing discrimination on the basis of sex, and regard the refusal to provide facilities on an equal basis to both men and women as sexual discrimination, but exceptions are usually permitted.

ex discrimination

Historically, certain occupations tended to be exclusively for men and others for women. Occupations such as nursing and secretarial tended to be almost exclusively for women. This is referred to as occupational segregation.

With the movement to sexual equality, formal barriers have been removed. However certain occupations still continue to be dominated by one gender or the other. For example, more than 90% of nurses in the United States are women and only 6 of the fortune 500 companies have women CEO's.Fact|date=May 2008


For religious or other cultural reasons, schools might be segregated on a gender basis. There have been studies conducted to analyse whether single-sex or co-ed schools produce better educational outcomes, but each has its advocates and critics. Even in co-ed schools, certain classes, such as sex education, are sometimes segregated on the basis of gender. On the other hand, even in single-sex schools teaching staff usually consists of both men and women.

In Louisiana following the forced race integration of public schools, the schools were segregated by sex. St. Bernard and Jefferson Parishes (surrounding New Orleans) instituted sex segregation to reduce the likelihood of black and white students dating. The last year of sex segregation in Jefferson Parish public schools was 1975.


Some religious buildings have separate entrances and worship areas for men and women. Some trains have designated women-only passenger cars.


Traditional Jewish synagogues have separate men's and women's sections, separated by a wall or curtain called a mechitza.cite web|url=|title=Synagogues, Shuls and Temples||accessdate=2007-02-25]

In Israel there are a few "modesty buses", serving ultra-orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods, which are segregated by sex, with men in front and women in the back of the bus. [Katya Alder, [ "Israel's 'modesty buses' draw fire"] , "BBC News", 24 April 2007]

In Israel, there is new research that shows how both boys' and girls' performance can be increased at school, with a higher ratio of girls to boys in the classroom: [ "Keep Boys and Girls Together, New Research Suggests"]


Islam discourages social interaction between men and women.

The textual basis for insisting on total segregation of the sexes is the hadith on "zina" (fornication and adultery) of the limbs narrated from Ibn Mas`ud by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad with a strong chain: "The two eyes commit "zina", the two hands commit "zina", the two feet commit "zina", and the genitals commit "zina"." Another wording with a passable chain in the Musnad includes the tongue and specifies in the end: "Then the genitals actualize it or belly it.". However, it does not necessarily follow that this hadith can be used as justification for saying "Therefore, according to Shari'ah, to look, speak, listen, etc. to any Ghayr Mahram (women you are not related to or married to) except at the time of extreme necessity is Haraam and impermissible."

Sex segregation is strictly enforced in some Islamic countries.


The terms "gender apartheid" and "sexual apartheid" have also been used to describe differential treatment of women in institutions such as the Church of England [ [,3604,580180,00.html Women clergy accuse Church of sexual apartheid | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited ] ] or the Roman Catholic Church. See, for example, Patricia Budd Kepler in her 1978 "Theology Today" article "Women Clergy and the Cultural Order". [ [ Theology Today - Vol 34, No. 4 - January 1978 - ARTICLE - Women Clergy And The Cultural Order ] ]

In churches, men and women sit together in most Western Catholic parishes, while in many Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox parishes, there is a separation of genders. This is not as common in the New World as it is in the Old World, especially in more rural areas where men will sit on the right (near Christ's icon) and women will sit on the left (near Mary's icon).

See also

* Sexism
*Golden Needle Sewing School


External links

* [ RAWA - Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. Documenting Taliban atrocities against women]
* [ Gender Apartheid] an essay on the topic from Third World Women's Health
* [ Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan] an anti-Taliban pamphlet from the Feminist Majority Foundation
* [ Taking the Gender Apartheid Tour in Saudi Arabia]
* [ Direct Action is Necessary Because Homophobia is Sexual Apartheid] by Peter Tatchell, October 7 1994
* [ Saudi Arabia's Apartheid] by Colbert King, "Washington Post" December 22 2001
* [ Against Sexual Apartheid in Iran] Interview with Azar Majedi
* [ Sexual Apartheid in Iran] by Mahin Hassibi
* [,3604,580180,00.html Church persists with sexual apartheid, say women priests] "The Guardian", October 25 2001

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sex Segregation — Geschlechtertrennung bezeichnet verschiedene Weisen der Differenzierung, Separation oder Segregation von Lebewesen bezüglich ihres biologischen Geschlechts und/oder ihrer kulturellen Geschlechtszugehörigkeit. In sozialer und kultureller Hinsicht… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sex segregation — noun the traditional Hindu or Muslim system of keeping women secluded • Syn: ↑purdah • Hypernyms: ↑segregation, ↑separatism …   Useful english dictionary

  • Sex segregation and Islam — This is a sub article to Islamic jurisprudence and Sex segregationIslam discourages social interaction between men and women when they are alone but not all interaction between men and women. This is shown in the example of Khadijah, who employed …   Wikipedia

  • occupational sex segregation — профессиональная сегрегация по признаку пола …   Термины гендерных исследований

  • segregation — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ racial, religious, residential, sex, social ▪ to bring an end to sex segregation within the school ▪ complete ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • Segregation in Northern Ireland — is a long running issue in the political and social history of the province. It often been regarded as both a cause and effect of The Troubles between the Roman Catholic and Protestant populations of Northern Ireland.A combination of political,… …   Wikipedia

  • segregation — Social processes which result in certain individuals or social groups being kept apart with little or no interaction between them. An almost universal type of segregation is achieved by separate public toilet facilities for men and women. The… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Segregation distorter — Gène de la drosophile La drosophile Drosophila melanogaster est un animal modèle de la génétique. Sa petite taille, son taux de reproduction ainsi que son cycle de vie court permettent d en faire facilement l élevage dans de simples bocaux à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sex lethal — Gène de la drosophile La drosophile Drosophila melanogaster est un animal modèle de la génétique. Sa petite taille, son taux de reproduction ainsi que son cycle de vie court permettent d en faire facilement l élevage dans de simples bocaux à… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • segregation — Synonyms and related words: Jim Crow, Jim Crow law, alien, alteration, analysis, anatomization, anti Semitism, apartheid, apartness, atomization, black power, black supremacy, change, chauvinism, class consciousness, class distinction, class… …   Moby Thesaurus

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.