Research professor in history, anthropology of the body and sports and physical education, Jacques Gleyse teaches at Montpellier University 2 and 3. He focuses on the relationship between “la chair” et “le verb” (flesh and word) and equality between girls and boys at school and in society. Simply and nicely, the professor explains us few concepts about sex, gender, education and their relationship.


1. What’s the difference between sex and gender?
Sex is biological, natural, given at birth; gender is psycho-socio-cultural and acquired or in-utero or at birth.

2. How many genders and sexes do exist?
There are two sexes and some people (1/100000) whom sex is undefined. About genders, since it is a cultural fact, there could be as much genders as much socio-cultural groups exist.

3. It is said that sexual identification happens at the age of three years old, but this one can be questioned during adolescence. Could you please explain us this process?
For someone, it is about a reactivation, during adolescence, of the early phases of child development connected to morphological and hormonal disorders.

4. What is the role of education and school in sexual identification?
I must admit that about sexual identification I don’t know exactly. But about gender stereotypes and gender behaviours, education and school have an important role. We can see that in the works of Elena Gianini Bellotti, but also of Nicole Mosconi or Marie Duru-Bellat, and Pierre Bourdieu (The male domination) and in all the gender studies.

5. Why should gender studies be taught at school?
It is not really the gender studies that should be taught at school (even if this could give the kids a bigger personal and free choice in the future), but the question of the equality between boys and girls. It is simply about establishing an equal way of treating males and females at school. Which is not always done today. Being aware of the gender stereotypes is important not to let anybody being chained up in socio-cultural conventions.

6. How can we escape the gender stereotypes?
It is not really like we can. We can safeguard our selves and above all safeguard children educating them in general and educating them on the question. Only education allows awareness, that allows not to be entrapped.