If my assumption in the comment above is accurate, this is a perfect use of the "ItemsData" property of AppDesigner components. The "Items" [male,female] will display in the dropdown list, but the "Value" property will take from the "ItemsData" [1,2] list. Then it's a simple matter of accessing and adding the .Value of each dropdown of concern.
Edit: after investigation, it appears there is no way in "Design View" to make the ItemsData numeric. This is a shame because the tooltip explicitly says "1 x n numeric array" is valid. You can either use str2double, or set the ItemsData in the startupFcn.