NATIONAL COLLEGE OF BUSSINESS ADMINISTRATION
& ECONOMICS MULTAN
Gender Representation in English Textbooks at
MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY
Prof. Alamdar Nabi Sb
In all educational institutions textbooks are
used as a guide to teach language.
Language is one of the pragmatic medium
to represent gender ideas .Gender biased course books might affect the learner
in a negative because images of gender representation in textbooks affect learner’s
perception of what a man or a woman is .The aim of this thesis is to
investigate whether writers and publishers take the gender issue into
consideration while publishing the textbooks. In order to address this issue
the research is focused upon the analysis of five English textbooks at primary
level approved by Punjab text book board. In this research mixed method will be
used to collect data and different categories will be selected for content
The following is the breakdown of the present research in
1: This chapter deals with the introduction and
importance of the topic “Gender Representation in English textbooks at Primary
of the study and the relevant literature review are the part of this chapter.
3: In this chapter the research methodology, the process of
data collection and analysis will be elaborated.
4: This chapter provides the information about
the data collection through the research method.
5: The results are drawn on the basis of facts
found through data collection. Findings are discussed according to research
are the most powerful instruments in shaping children’s belief, attitudes and
values (Sumalatha 2004). If we read books or see pictures in the books we are
always confronted by images of men and women consciously or subconsciously.
These images, whether it is known or not, may have an important impact upon
people’s lives and how people create their identities. In the same way, the language used in the textbooks create a lasting impression
and shapes the ideology of the users and
is some ways may influence how people perceive themselves and the world, it is
interesting to see how is portrayed
gender in textbooks at primary level. Therefore, in order to add to the
literature, the main idea of this thesis is attempting to see how gender is
represented in textbooks through
different roles, activities, jobs and by using different adjectives.
Gender points out the set of socially and culturally
formed roles and relationship, characteristics, opportunities, attitudes,
beliefs, behaviors and values that society assigned to the two genders on a
disparity ground. Gender is an attained status that is being taught. It may
alter with the passage of time and modify generally within society and outside
society. Gender is relational and points out not
only to ladies and gentleman but also their mutual association. (Health Canada,
2000b.Gender is a wider and multi-faceted concept. Gender roles are relatives
to their cultures and societies. These roles of males and females differ
immensely among societies and social groups within a culture
According to World Health Organization, sex
is a biological characteristic which differentiate human beings as female or
male. While these sets of biological properties are not
equally restricted, since there are persons who enjoy both, they inclined to classify
humans as males and females.(World Health Organization,2002)
1.3 Gender and gender identity construction
to West and Zimmerman (1987), it is suggested that gender is not a set of
trait, a variable, nor a role, but the product of social doings of some sorts.
The distinct roles and behavior might cause gender inequalities (WHO, 2014). Different scholars have already propounded
various theories attempting to explain how gender is constructed. And it is
believed that people would learn about gender and construct their own gender
identities through various social agents, such as, family, peers, schools, media,
and so on . As one of the major social agents, school plays an extremely
crucial role because students are spending a lot of time at school. School becomes an important context where
students observe, imitate, acquire, rationalize, and reinforce their attitudes
towards gender. Chapman (2008) highlighted the negative impacts, relating to
gender, that education may bring about. According to Chapman, bias is embedded
in textbooks, lessons, and teacher interactions with students. This type of
gender bias is part of the hidden curriculum of lessons taught implicitly to
students through the everyday functioning of their classroom (as cited in Jou,
2010). Hence, in order to achieve gender equality, it would be beneficial if
more attention could be paid on studying how schooling affects students’
attitudes towards gender.
1.4 Gender and Textbooks
mentioned above, school is an important social agent affecting students’
attitudes towards gender. Many researchers and scholars showed their interests
in analyzing how education influences students’ understanding about gender
roles. Textbooks have been studied by different researchers throughout the
years, because textbooks are always the main teaching and learning materials
adopted by teachers. Also, apart from the teaching and learning during lessons,
students also spend a lot of time on reading textbooks for revision after
school. More importantly, students tend to consider textbook as authority, they
rarely challenge the knowledge and values embedded in textbooks. Since
textbooks are such influential to students, it is worth to investigate the
gender representation in textbooks, analyzing if there are underlying gender
messages or values embedded which contribute to the formation of gender
Statement of the problem
This dissertation aims to look at the
representation of gender and gender roles in English textbooks used in primary
level. This type of investigation is important because teachers need to
consider what the choice of a certain textbook might entail, and the issues
this might bring about. Teachers also have to make learners aware of these
issues and help them towards becoming critical respondents to texts. My
hypothesis is that the representation of gender and gender roles in English
textbooks reflect the development of society towards equality between men and
1.6 Objectives of the study
The main objective of this study is to examine the gender representation
in English textbooks used in primary level. Institutions play an important role
in the growth of learners and these are not only places for formal education
but also places where students learn about their historical bounds, cultural
and social identity .It is a fact that materials used in educational
institutions are historically regarded as credible and honest source of
learning, The teachers gain this knowledge without judging its authenticity .So
the objectives are:
To identify how represented male and female characters in
English textbook class 1 to 5.
To assess what jobs/professions are assigned to men and women
in English textbooks class 1 to 5
To check the free time activities of male and female
characters in English textbooks class 1 to 5
To identify what types of language/adjectives used
for female characters in English textbook class 1 to 5.
1.7 Research Questions
How represented male and female characters in English
textbooks are class 1 to 5?
How are represented free time activities of male and
female characters in English textbooks class 1 to 5?
What language /adjectives used for female characters in English
textbooks class 1 to 5?
What is the role assigned to men and women in English
textbooks class 1 to 5?
1.8 Significance of the study
believed that teaching materials would somehow bring certain effects on
students’ perceptions and attitudes toward gender. The purpose of this study is to create
awareness among students between right and wrong and also provide them chance
to use their energies and capabilities
positively .In the same way ,This
study will helpful for teacher s, writer
and scholars to utilize knowledge in
classroom about gender discrimination .It is important to
examine gender issues in childrens’books.
2.1 Study Background
“In the 1970s, feminists raised awareness
about gender bias and stereotypes in children’s books. Their studies allowed
readers to see the many ways that books portrayed gender” (Salem, 2006, p.85).
“Peterson and Lach (1990) discussed the importance of gender stereotypes in
children’s literature and pointed that ‘male characters were more likely to be
portrayed as positive, active and competent, while females were likely to be
portrayed as negative, passive and incompetent”
2.2 How is gender role depicted in children’s literature
Primary level education is
an important part of developing children’s identities. In the Pakistani
context, as textbooks play a central role in the primary school classrooms,
they could be a source of establishing an outlook to society in the minds of
their young learners. Literature used in
these schools provides a great possibility to influence children’s thoughts
since as children start going to school, the teacher and the literature are the
first resources from which they get information and develop. Accordingly, it is
significant evaluating the textbooks we use in schools and also being careful
regarding the way we express ourselves in the classroom.
2.3 Gender stereotyping and children’s performance
Numerous studies signify
that gender stereotyping has an influence on children’s performance. “The basic
argument has been that parents, teachers, schools and societies treat boys and
girls differently, and as a result, children learn to ‘do gender” (Lippa, 2002,
p.145). This is understandable, because as long as we raise children by
presenting them to male and female characteristics, their minds will nurture by
recognizing those distinctions and they will classify themselves to one or
another sexual category. However, it is important taking into account how these
classifications negatively impact learners’ development. “Egan and Perry (2001)
argue that feeling strong pressure for gender conformity is generally harmful
(rather than beneficial) to mental health because of the limitations that are
imposed on possibly fulfilling opinions, which weakness feeling of autonomy and
puts children under stress”
3.1 Procedure of the Research
the investigation of the gender representation in English textbooks at primary
level in Pakistan, the researcher will use mixed-method approach. The data will
be collected quantitative as well as qualitative.
3.2 Tool of the Research
The objective of
this study aims to perceive whether there are any stereotypical representation
of men and women in English textbook class at primary level 1 to 5. For this
purpose content analysis was chosen as the data analysis tool because it was
applied to find out the data in an objective manner. English Textbooks class 1
to 5 will be used to collect data of the present study. It is an important fact
that the above textbooks is being read by the majority of the students in
Pakistan. The social researcher ,publishers, policy makers teachers and
textbook writers will surely find a new vision in the result of this study that
they should present male and female characters equal in the textbooks so that
our students that are our future ,may not get entangled in gender biased
education at this immature stage of
3.3 Sample of the Research
English Textbooks class 1 to 5
will be used to collect data of the present study and the procedure of analysis
in order to study gender representation in the textbooks chosen as a sample. It
is an important fact that the above textbooks is being read by the majority of
the students in Pakistan. The social researcher ,publishers, policy makers
teachers and textbook writers will surely find a new vision in the result of
this study that they should present male and female characters equal in the
textbooks so that our students that are our future ,may not get entangled in
gender biased education at this immature stage
3.4 Research Variable
For this particular study, only
one variable, “Gender” was selected because the whole research revolved around
3.5 Analysis of Research
For the analysis of English
textbooks at primary level class 1 to 5 a technique of content analysis was
applied to find out the desired data. The following categories were set for
Presence of Female
and Male characters.
free time activities.
Adjectives used to
describe the two genders.
3.6 Delimitation of the Study
English textbooks class 1to 5, these are five
books that the researcher selected for the research purpose.
Collection and Data Analysis
The aim of this chapter is the representation of the
data and its analysis. There are five English textbooks “class 1 to 5” in the
curriculum at primary level approved by Punjab textbook board. The researcher
will be analyzed all the lessons one by one and collected data to explore the
facts according to research questions. Moreover, the researcher will focus on the
research questions and analyze each and every word of the text to achieve objectives
for this particular study.
In this final chapter of the thesis, the key
findings will be obtained by the researcher regarding gender representation in
English textbook class 1 to 5 at primary level. Content analysis is the major
analysis tool that was chosen in order to investigate the content of the
textbook .Different categories will be taken for textual analysis.
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