In addition to enabling children to acquire literacy and broaden their knowledge base, reading is an important medium through which young children learn about gender and develop their understanding of gendered social order and gender roles. The present study aims to examine how male and female characters are represented in the readers for the Primary Literacy Programme – Reading and Writing developed by the Education Bureau in Hong Kong, from experiential and relational perspectives. Variables such as the ratios of female-to-male appearances and central characters, the familial roles and activities performed, character identification, and order of mention were examined through manual and/or computational research methods. The findings show that although there is numerical gender balance, latent gender inequality still exists. It is recommended that book authors, publishers, and education authorities consider how to avoid creating hidden gender inequities, either consciously or unconsciously, while teachers and parents should be provided with guidelines on how to help children develop critical reading skills to interpret gender, and how to "subvert" stereotypes when reading and telling stories to children. Copyright © 2020 Childhood Education International.
CitationLee, J. F. K. (2021). Gender portrayal in a popular Hong Kong reading programme for children: Are there equalities? Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 35(4), 567-583. doi: 10.1080/02568543.2020.1784323
- Children's books
- Elementary reading programs
- Gender stereotypes
- Hong Kong