Gender stereotypes and education: A comparative content analysis of Malaysian, Indonesian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi school textbooks

Kazi Md Mukitul Islam, M. Niaz Asadullah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using government secondary school English language textbooks from Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh, we conducted a quantitative content analysis in order to identify gender stereotypes in school education. In total, 21 categories of exclusion and quality of representation were used to study gender stereotypes. Our analysis confirms a pro-male bias in textbooks: the aggregate female share is 40.4% in textual and pictorial indicators combined. Female occupations are mostly traditional and less prestigious while the characters are predominantly introverted and passive in terms of personality traits. Women are also shown to be mostly involved in domestic and in-door activities while men have a higher presence in professional roles. Systematic underrepresentation of females is evident regardless of whether we look at the text or pictures. A cross-country analysis shows that the female share in picture content is only 35.2% in Malaysia and Bangladesh. Overall, the proportion of female to male characters (text and pictures combined) is balanced in Malaysia and Indonesia (44.4% and 44.1% respectively) while this share is only 24.4% and 37.3% in Pakistani and Bangladeshi textbooks respectively. The finding of underrepresentation of women in Pakistani textbooks, in terms of quality and quantity, is robust to the selection of province-, grade- and subject-specific textbooks, as well as the range and type of categories used.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0190807
Number of pages24
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

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