Gender refers to the socially constructed roles and responsibilities of women and men. Gender Equity is the process of being fair to women and men. Equity leads to equality. EFA Goals Eliminating gender disparities in primary and secondary education by 2005, and achieving gender equality in education by 2015. MDG (Millennium Development Goal) “Promote Gender Equality and empower women” and to eliminate gender education preferably by 2005 and in all levels of education no later than 2015.
Male – centered language Avoid the use of masculine nouns if not specifically referring to men e.g. “mankind”, “manpower”, “manmade” and pronoun such as “he”. Previously male words served as all inclusive terms for both males and females.
Traditional male – female roles Males are usually depicted as “masters” in their homes. On the other hand females are depicted as fixated on mainstreaming the household to a high standard in order to make their husbands happy. Types of images used for females depicting them as kind, loving, faithful, motherly, sisterly, compassionat e, generous, loyal, educated and dependent. Types of images used for males: brave (most common), popular, strong, kind (One of two overlaps), achiever, innovative, adventurous, hardwor king, generous, educated (the other overlap)
A few examples of pictures and text used in our textbooks focusing on young boys and girls, men and women in their traditional roles. Example 1
“Derogation of women” – Women are portrayed as manipulate, jealous creatures, weak, superstitious or despicable. Females as silent suffers – textbooks usually portrays females in a submissive role namely natural silent suffers and this is highlighted as inherently good female quality.
Some points to be kept in mind before andwhile developing materials for textbooks inorder to reduce gender bias in textbooks. Use neutral nouns and don’t use masculine nouns and pronouns for both female and male genders. For example for man use humans; for mankind use the human race; for manpower use workforce; for manmade fibre us synthetic fibre.
Use inclusive pronouns: Use he or she , or rephrase the sentence (rephrasing to the plural forces often works) Examples: He has need of ……………… (incorrect) Observers of …………. Will perceive that they have ……. (correct) Don’t refer to people with stereotypical pronouns e.g. “ the doctor treated his patient”; “the secretary tidied her desk”. Social classes and age group should also not be stereotyped. Ethnic stereotyping should also be avoided. Use positive images for females as well as males.