Gender representation in Hong Kong primary school ELT textbooks: A comparative study

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This article seeks to investigate whether the improvement of the status of women in Hong Kong in recent decades, effected through various efforts to promote the values of equal opportunity concepts, is reflected in patterns of gender representation in primary school textbooks used in Hong Kong. A comparison of a popular series of primary school English-language textbooks that was published in 2005 with the same series published in 1988 (12 books in total) revealed increase in gender equity in the more recent books, including increased visibility of women both visually and textually. Nevertheless, the findings also revealed a perpetuation of some stereotyped images of the two genders and portrayals of women in a more limited range of social roles than men. The ‘male-first’ phenomenon and the visual and textual under-representation of women were still prevalent in the contemporary textbooks. The potential impacts on children of unbalanced gender representation in textbooks are discussed within the framework of social cognitive theory. Copyright © 2014 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-376
JournalGender and Education
Issue number4
Early online dateMay 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


primary school
Hong Kong
cognitive theory
equal opportunity
Social Role
English language


Lee, J. F. K. (2014). Gender representation in Hong Kong primary school ELT textbooks: A comparative study. Gender and Education, 26(4), 356-376.


  • Gender
  • Hong Kong
  • Sexism
  • Stereotype
  • Textbook