Does Biology Limit Equality?

  • Shannon N. DavisEmail author
  • Alysia Blake
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


This chapter provides a brief overview of theory and research that has investigated the relationship between physiology and gender difference with an eye toward understanding the role that biology may play in facilitating or inhibiting social equality. We present one extended example that simultaneously examined biological and social theories as structuring individual-level variation in women’s personality traits to document the complicated interplay of the biological and the social across the life course. We extend our analysis to discuss implications for the study of race and acknowledge the benefical contributions that intersex and transgender individuals’ experiences bring to bear on the study of the relationship between physiology and gender difference. We conlude by noting that though the road to equality is hard and paved with setbacks, it is not bound by biology.


Physiology Gender difference Biology Social inequality Gender structure at the individual-level 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Census BureauPrince George’sUSA

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