Education & Social Work

Gender representations in primary school textbooks

Textbooks are powerful media; in addition to subject knowledge and pedagogic content, they also convey social norms and values.
This project aims to identify and examine gender representations and stereotypes in Luxembourg primary school textbooks.

Through a mixed methods research, we determine the proportions of female and male characters and analyse the gender roles in which they are represented. A diversity of gender representations and role models in textbooks are fundamental to child development and socialisation.

Problematic

In addition to their pedagogical role, textbooks also carry ideological and economic implications. Textbooks play a major role in socialisation by transmitting knowledge and values. Textbooks therefore go beyond the scope of learning and school. They are, for example, an element of communication, especially about values within families. This awareness of their wide area of influence makes it possible to consider the potential of textbooks as a vehicle for gender equality to meet the objectives of education for all. The textbook can be defined as a powerful lever for social change, enabling the circulation of universal values.

Methodology

With a quantitative methodology, the contents of the different textbooks were analysed to identify gender representations and establish an overview of the current situation:

  1. by counting the number of female and male characters;
  2. by identifying the professions and hobbies presented as masculine and feminine;
  3. by detecting the roles and stereotypes of women and men, girls and boys

Objectives

1. Reveal the construction of gender inequalities in school textbooks by cataloguing, questioning, and analysing gender representations in the teaching material used in primary schools in Luxembourg. These are texts and images representing, for example, "typical" feminine and masculine professions, habits, and characteristics that convey certain prejudices, stereotypes, and values.

2. Provide tools to the actors responsible for the elaboration of school textbooks, to support a revision of the contents.

People related to this project

Sylvie
Kerger
Education & Social Work
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