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NCERT Books Still Depict Gender Stereotypes

Jan 31, 2014 13:00 IST

    NCERT's Department of Women's Studies did a Gender review of English, Hindi, Mathematics and Environmental Science textbooks from Class I to V, and found out a few textbooks carries elements of gender stereotype.

    As revealed by the analysis, the environmental studies textbooks, which was authored by 36 female and two male teachers, has some considerable gender issues depicted in some manner in the book including some stereotypes visuals.

    Taking a case, Class III textbook contains a visual that depicts women in stereotypical role of fetching water, as well as power structures also is not reflected properly. To take positive point out of it, children's imagination, creativity, dreams have been followed well in the book.

    For the Mathematics textbooks, the analysis made known that both parents and boys and girls are placed equally in the exercises and topics of Books. For an instance, boys are shown making patterns out of bangles while girls are fixing iron nails in some exercises.

    The analysis of Math book also found some atypical features. For instance, women are portrayed as inheriting property and having equal rights to it or Girl child is solving Father’s Problems. Upon the ownership of assets, the analysis suggested that it could also be reflected jointly.

    In the analysis of Hindi textbooks, gender sensitivity was found overall, however, the analysis found that in a few chapters, a subtle bias in treating animals or nature as feminine and masculine was projected along with the use of even adjectives were stereotypical. For instance, a poem while making reference to women describes her as fat, strong and quarrelsome.

    The English textbooks maintained a thematic consistency, lucidity and contextualization. It also laid emphasis more on urban scenario. Also, animals were thematically gendered.

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