UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A gender analysis of Iranian middle school textbooks Abbas-Nejad-Konjin, Anahita


This study examines gender inequity in three Iranian middle school textbooks, and explores the efforts that Iranian women make to adopt, negotiate and resist the sexist indoctrinations of the textbooks. This thesis consists of two phases. The first phase contains a content analysis of the grade 6 Farsi Language Arts, grade 7 English as a Foreign Language, and grade 8 Natural Sciences textbooks taught in the academic year 2011-2012 in Iran. The second phase of the thesis analyzes the oral history interviews conducted with three female engineers regarding their K-12 and university education in Iran. The findings of the content analysis reveal that sexist indications permeate Iranian textbooks. Compared to men, women have a pale presence in the books. Women and girls are depicted, for the most part, in the domestic sphere, and their role as mothers and nurturers are stressed in stories, poems, and illustrations. An analysis of the women’s interviews and archival documents; however, indicate that despite the sexist instructions of the textbooks, Iranian women are endeavouring to destabilise the cultural and political structures that curtail their rights. Today Iranian women are actively present in the public sphere; some of them are stepping into territories that have been long regarded as male-only grounds. By so doing, these women are gradually dismantling patriarchal systems of power.

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