Major Scientific Contribution
Sex and Gender
Mary Crawford and Rhoda Unger, together, have pioneered research and discussions in the concept of sex and gender. In their article, Commentary: Sex and Gender – The Troubled Relationship Between Terms and Concepts, Crawford argues that new guidelines and definitions should be established for correctly and responsibly using the words gender and sex (Unger 1993). Crawford reasons that these concepts are most important when attempting to explain causality (Unger 1993). Interestingly, Crawford reports that some cultures which grammatically use a third neuter term, rather than all words being either masculine or feminine, can vastly change the ideas ...view middle of the document...
She says that even though research supports that notion of gender being socially constructed, it does not deal with the interaction of socially constructed roles that are associated with each male or female identities or the effects behavior can have on biology (Unger 1993).
Gender, Sex, and HIV
In this widely cited article, Gender attitudes, sexual power, HIV risk: A model for understanding HIV risk behavior in South African men, Crawford examines the relationship between beliefs of gender roles and risk for contracting HIV(Kaufman 2008). Africa has a major problem with HIV/AIDS. Crawford reports that as of 2006, 18.8% of adults in South Africa are infected with the virus (Kaufman 2008). Even though this study focused on men, the research was important to women because in some parts of Africa, the number of women infected with HIV is twice that of men (Kaufman 2008). Sexual assault is also more prevalent of a health issue in Africa than in many other parts of the world due to the incidence of HIV, so Crawford found it important to study the links between attitudes and HIV (Kaufman 2008).
Cultural gender roles are strictly adhered to in Africa, with men being viewed as the teaching role and women being passive and submissive (Kaufman 2008). An African man’s masculinity seems to be defined by his power to make choices for himself and his partner and to be the dominant role (Kaufman 2008). Crawford reports that women are at highest risk for HIV infection when they are more submissive and lack power to determine when and who they have relations with (Kaufman 2008). Crawford stresses the importance of placing safer sex practices in the hands of men as well as women Because the culture is so male dominated, she urges that steps be taken to study how they could affect men’s attitudes toward women, or women’s level of power in their sexual relationships, which could have a larger impact than current prevention programs (Kaufman 2008).
The results of this study were interesting, in that they did not find every expected correlation to be significant (Kaufman 2008). One correlation was surprisingly in the opposite direction; with men who reported to believe masculine dominance were found to participate in less risky sexual behaviors (Kaufman 2008). However, men who were more hostile to women did report to engage in more high risk sexual behaviors (Kaufman 2008). Men were also found to have more control in relationships as their hostility towards women increased (Kaufman 2008). Crawford also reported that men claimed to feel disempowered and that this was a threat to their decision-making dominance in the family but was much related to men who were no longer the primary bread winner of their families (Kaufman 2008). In summary, they found that when men viewed themselves at greater risk of sexually transmitted infections or of losing their beliefs of masculinity, they were more likely to use safer sex practices (Kaufman 2008).
Sex Trafficking in Nepal