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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Gender stereotyping in elementary school textbooks Ollivier, Kelly Elaine


The problem under investigation in this study is whether gender stereotyping exists in elementary school textbooks, and if it does, is there any change in the sextyped images of males and females between the 1960’s and the 1980’s? Research on sexism in textbooks was more prevalent during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Since then, there has been a declining interest in the topic as researchers have turned their attention to other problem areas. One of the reasons for this declining interest is the belief that curriculum content has become more diverse and less stereotyped. This study involves an empirical investigation of differences in the portrayal of male and female characters in grade one elementary school textbooks using the method of content analysis. Twenty two textbooks were selected from the Prescribed, Authorized and Recommended material produced by the B.C. Ministry of Education. All human and human-like characters were coded and analyzed. The results indicate the presence of gender stereotyping in all three decades and support the findings of previous studies. The results of this study also show gender stereotyping of adult characters to be much more prevalent than it is for child characters. The portrayal of child characters is less stereotyped in the 1980’s than in the 1960’s and 1970’s. However, gender stereotyping of adult characters is, in some cases, more prevalent in the 1980’s than in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Overall, the results show us that children in the 1980’s are still reading textbooks that show significant gender stereotyping.

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