Anne Fausto-Sterling - Gender/sex identity formation during infancy

21/01/2022, 15:30 (GMT+1, Warsaw)
Online meeting (via Zoom)
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We cordially invite you to the first HILL talk this year! Our guest will be Prof. Anne Fausto-Sterling, Brown University Professor Emerita of Biology and Gender Studies. During the meeting, she will talk about her research on gender/sex identity, and how and when it starts being shaped.

To read more about Prof. Fausto-Sterling and her research, please visit her website:

Title: Gender/sex Identity Formation during Infancy


By the age of three many children feel that they are a boy or a girl (gender/sex identity). They prefer specific play objects and modes, clothing, and colors that reflect this feeling and also reinforce it. Most work to date employs cognitive and/or social learning analyses to establish the age at which (when) a child can self-identify or when surrounding adults can use the child’s preferences to apply the label of boy or girl. A consensus has formed that features of gender/sex identity, as defined by behaviors and self labelling, emerge after 18 months of development and elaborate and consolidate by 5 years of age. In this talk we address theoretical and investigatory limits of this analysis. We argue that the question of how precedes that of when, proposing that during the first 18 months, gender/sex develops as a presymbolic, neuro-sensorily embodied phenomenon. We further suggest that, rather than being examined as a topic apart, the study of gender/sex be integrated into its intersectional context as an aspect of human culture, as currently investigated in research groups such as HILL.

Before the meeting, please read this paper:

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. (2019) “Gender/Sex, Sexual Orientation, and Identity Are in the Body: How Did They Get There?”. The Journal of Sex Research 56(4-5), pp. 1-27. [ResearchGate]

Further reading:

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 952324.