Sex Discrimination

Updated: 11 March 2024

What Does Sex Discrimination Mean?

Sex discrimination (or gender discrimination) is the practice of treating members of one sex less favorably than the members of the opposite sex. In many countries, it is considered a human rights offense.

Insuranceopedia Explains Sex Discrimination

Although the terms "sex discrimination" and "gender discrimination" are often used interchangeably, the concepts of sex and gender have evolved and diverged in recent decades. "Sex" now typically refers to various physiological characteristics, such as genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics. "Gender," on the other hand, is now often used to refer to social categories such as "man" or "woman" rather than physiological features associated with each of them.

Certain political movements, like human rights and feminism, have made inroads into the elimination of sex- or gender-based discrimination in many areas of human life, including the workplace.

In the world of insurance, however, some sex discrimination still occurs, including in the underwriting process. In many states, for example, insurers charge male motorists higher premium rates than they charge to female drivers. This differentiated pricing is based on statistical analyses that show that men are more likely to be involved in accidents, or in more severe accidents, than women.

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