Gender representation in a Hong Kong primary English textbook series: The relationship between language planning and social policy

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Abstract

Language-in-education planning in the form of materials planning has an important role to play in achieving a society’s social goals. Gender stereotyping has been found in previous language textbook studies. Although gender bias has declined, some recent studies suggest that it still exists. This study analysed the content and language of a recently published Hong Kong English language textbook series for grade one students to explore its gender representation. The results of the study showed that males and females were almost equally represented and were portrayed in a similar range of activities. Females were also more visible in both illustrations and texts. The phenomena of females being underrepresented and male dominance that occurred in the previous textbook studies did not exist in the textbook series examined, though males were still mentioned first when two nouns were paired for gender. One implication that can be drawn from the results is that gender stereotyping or how gender is represented in textbooks should be an important factor to be considered when school teachers select textbooks for their students, and this aspect should be highly emphasized in the government’s policy manual for selection of textbooks for use in schools, given the fact that textbooks may have strong influence on children’s development of values and attitudes. Copyright © 2011 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-88
JournalCurrent Issues in Language Planning
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011

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textbook
Hong Kong
planning
gender
language
Social Policy
Gender Representation
Textbooks
Language Planning
school
government policy
English language
student
school grade
trend
teacher
Values
education

Citation

Yang, C. C. R. (2011). Gender representation in a Hong Kong primary English textbook series: The relationship between language planning and social policy. Current Issues in Language Planning, 12(1), 77-88.

Keywords

  • Gender stereotyping
  • Hong Kong
  • Primary schools
  • English language
  • Textbooks
  • Language planning and policy