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Number of Downlaods: 23

Published Date: Mar 20, 2013

Boys Play Cricket, Girls Play House: Examining the Gender Binary in Pakistani Public Schools Textbooks(W-132)

Sheena McDonald


Abstract : 

Pakistan has formally committed to the Education for
All movement[1] and has pledged to achieve its goals by
2015 (UNESCO, 2004). Goal 5 is the elimination of “gender disparities in
primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in
education by 2015 with a focus on ensuring girls’ full and equal access to and
achievement in basic education of good quality” (Education for All, 2011).
Certainly, this goal includes textbooks free from gender bias and the
constraining roles prescribed by a rigid gender binary. Nevertheless, it is
2012 and some of the most recent editions of textbooks made available to the
students of Pakistan are riddled with depictions of stereotypical and narrow
gender roles that limit the opportunities for both genders and subjugate women.
This study examines the relationship between the gender binary and bias in
textbooks and the binary and bias in Pakistani society. The investigation has
two central prongs, the first entailing a critical discourse analysis of
government school textbooks available in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT)
for English, Islamiat, Pakistan Studies, Social Studies, and Home Economics.
The second feature of the investigation is a series of in-depth and open-ended
interviews with children and their instructors conducted in public schools in
the ICT to determine their perceptions of gender and to what extent their
perceptions are constructed and enforced by what they are exposed to in the
classroom. This study determines that current government school textbooks help
promote and perpetuate rigid gender roles and the marginalisation of women
within society.


[1] In
2000, 164 governments met at the World Education Forum in Dakar and committed
to achieve Education for All by 2015. UNESCO was mandated to coordinate
governments, development agencies, civil society, and the private sector to
reach the EFA goals (Education for All, 2011).