March 8, 2016

Gender bias is rife in textbooks

Written by GEM Report, UNESCO

Black and white illustration a man in the "head of the household" role, paying for something, while the mother remains with the children

Starting on International Women’s Day, we are investigating gender bias in textbooks, to assess its persistence, and remind policy makers that until it is addressed, girls’ motivation, participation and achievement in school will continue to be undermined, affecting their future life chances.

As well as investigating the way that gender discrimination and inequality is reflected in textbooks’ pages, a future GEM Report policy paper later this year will look at the way that education for sustainable development, and global citizenship, including human rights, environmental rights, peace and non-violence, and cultural diversity are portrayed. As such, our focus on textbook content supports the emphasis in the Sustainable Development Agenda on inclusive, quality learning.

We want you to help us with our investigation. Join us on Instagram (@GEMReport). Send us photos of your textbooks marked #betweenthelines that you feel are positive examples of the way education is promoting gender equality, and sustainable development more widely, and of those you feel are letting the side down.  Yes, it may be hard to find the data that will make gender equality easy for us to measure as we work towards our development deadline in 2030, but this campaign works on the premise that a picture is worth a thousand words.  We will launch an online exhibition of the best of these contributions with the launch of our policy paper on the subject this June.

Read more.