So where are the working women? A discussion of gender roles in high school textbooks

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Fumie Togano, Hosei Daini High School


This study examines English writing textbooks used in Japanese senior high schools in terms of gender representation. The results show the following gender imbalances: Women are less visible than men, housework and child care are mostly assigned to mothers, working women seldom appear, and men enjoy a wider variety of occupational roles than women. In addition, the topics of cooking and fashion are usually associated with women, whereas work, cars, computers, and sports are often associated with men. Although a certain degree of awareness of gender issues is shown in the sections dealing with gender equality or gender-neutral expressions, gender imbalances still exist in current textbooks and need to be corrected. In order to produce nonsexist textbooks, more efforts should be made to raise awareness about sexism in textbooks and take action against it.