'Textbooks Feeding Gender Stereotypes'

The curriculum taught in government primary schools of the state feeds gender stereotypes among children, a report has warned.

Published: 22nd July 2015 05:19 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd July 2015 05:19 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU:The curriculum taught in government primary schools of the state feeds gender stereotypes among children, a report has warned. The report by Anasuya B, Nandini and Neelaiah and released by NGOs Swaraj Sangatane and ActionAid on Tuesday explored stereotypes in the content of primary school textbooks.

The report sheds light on how gender discrimination is glorified in textbooks. The researchers analysed the illustrations, dialogue and use of language, besides other features, in the textbooks of English, Kannada and environment for Class I to IV and the social science textbook for Class V. One of their major findings concern the use of pictures or illustrations in the textbooks. Of the 644 pictures, 508 were found to glorify gender discrimination. “Primary school textbooks turn a blind eye on the achievements of women in all facets of society and claim that their only contribution is their service for the welfare of their families, thereby bolstering the stereotypes,” the report said.

For instance, of the 34 pictures in Class II environment textbook, only eight were gender neutral while 26 reflected the prevailing gender discrimination in society.

The Class V social science textbook identifies 23 achievers in a lesson titled Namma Sutta Mutta, of which only three were women. Similarly, in the lesson Mareyalarada Mahaanubhavaru featuring 12 persons in the same textbook, only one women found a place.

Anasuya told Express that they started the research six months ago and finalised the report recently. “In the 2011 census, the ratio of women to men in the country declined further, prompting us to explore the causes for this. Even though there are different factors responsible for the poor status of women in society, we wanted to explore the contribution of primary education in developing stereotypes regarding women,” she said. The report was submitted to the textbook review committee of the State on July 13. Implementing the recommendations of the report, which calls for more gender sensitivity in textbooks, is essential, she said.

Baragur Ramachandrappa, head of textbook review committee, said some of the problems highlighted in the report was due to the influence of the male-dominated society. “The committee is collecting opinions from various stakeholders. We will also consider the recommendations of the report submitted by Swaraj Sangatane and will try to ensure gender neutrality in the future editions,” he said.

SKEWED ‘study’

■ 508 out of the 644 pictures in textbooks of Class I -V glorify gender discrimination

■ Only 8 out of 34 pictures in Class 2 environment textbook were gender neutral

■ A lesson titled Namma Sutta Mutta in Class V textbook lists 23 achievers, of which only three were women

■ Another lesson Mareyalarada Mahaanubhavaru spoke about  12 persons, where only one women found a place


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