Construction of gender: A comparison of Australian and Hong Kong English language textbooks

Fung King Jackie LEE, Peter COLLINS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines whether the later development of awareness of gender issues in Hong Kong compared to Australia is reflected in patterns of gender representation in the English language textbooks published in these two places. A comparison of 10 currently-used Australian books with 10 Hong Kong books revealed that such awareness has impacted most on the use of gender-inclusive terms and symmetrical phrases in both places. The Australian writers tended to use generic they while their Hong Kong counterparts preferred either the coordination he or she or 'generic' he. Both sets of writers maintained the convention of male-first presentation, depicted women in a more limited range of social roles, and presented stereotyped images of women as weaker and more passive than men, and as operating primarily within domestic domains. The visual representations also reinforced traditional gendered roles. Hong Kong textbook writers, nevertheless, paid more heed to the inclusion of females visually. Controversy persists over whether textbook writers should reflect reality or whether they should lead social change and strive for gender equality. Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-137
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010



Lee, F. K. J., & Collins, P. (2010). Construction of gender: A comparison of Australian and Hong Kong English language textbooks. Journal of Gender Studies, 19(2), 121-137.


  • Australia
  • Gender
  • Hong Kong
  • Sexism
  • Sexist language
  • Textbooks