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The Female Sex in English Textbook “Marigold” for First Standard Students of CBSC Syllabus
Dr. B.V.RamaPrasad Associate Professor Department of Postgraduate Studies in English Kuvempu University Shankaraghatta Shivamogga

The aim of this paper is to analyze the English textbook ‘Marigold’ (MG) for 1st standard students prepared by NCERT. The paper tries to examine whether gender bias exists in the textbook. The paper first places the textbook in the context of policies related to the curriculum by NCERT as outlined in National Curriculum Framework 2005(NCF 05). Then it explains the criteria used to examine the gender bias in MG, and proceeds to analyze MG. To begin with, however, we should remember that textbooks are only one of the means through which gender stereotyping is done in the classrooms. The wider curriculum, the classroom atmosphere, the actual activities assigned by the teacher in the classroom, the uniforms prescribed, etc play a role in the construction of gender. However, by looking at the textbooks and modifying them to accommodate concerns about gender stereotyping, some step towards achieving gender equality can be taken. (See Blumberg, 4) At the top of the tree, we have the policy makers, and at the bottom of the tree we have the teachers who teach in the class room. In between, we have the textbook committee. The policymakers have tried to include the issues of gender in the National

For example. we must make every effort to eliminate gendered construction of knowledge” (60). The syllabus framework (NCERT. “Gender justice … must inform all sectors of the social sciences” (ix). Keeping in mind the length of this paper. Kenyan & Fakhar-ud-din. But “The Position Paper of National Focus Group on Gender Issues in Education” makes strong recommendations about gender issues in Language classrooms (67-71). nor are gender issues included in aims and objectives or in attitudes to be nurtured (see 5-8. gender does not find a place in the aims of English Language Education (see appendix 1. gender. Though here again there are no specific suggestions to the textbook writers. “If we wish that our dream of a democratic society should become a reality. pg 127). “The proposed syllabus tends to integrate the concerns related to environment. work and arts” (v). 2005. The paper has drawn insights from some other works done in this area (Blumberg. Language. See. We will now deal with the methods used in this paper to analyze the textbook MG. However.2 Curriculum Framework. health. for example. Bahuruddin et all). “… specific measures are needed to inculcate greater selfawareness among boys regarding their behaviour towards girls” (103). we will be able to use only some of the criteria used by the above works. though there are no specific recommendations regarding textbook content. We will analyze the textbook in terms of- . and 60-62). summary. Voices of women in all their glory need to find a prominent place in our textbooks and teaching strategies” (5). “It is extremely important that textbook writers and teachers begin to appreciate that the passive and deferential roles generally assigned to women are socio-culturally constructed and need to be destroyed as quickly as possible. 2006) also incorporates gender issues. peace.

We may say here that boys are at a disadvantage because only two boys are actually doing something whereas four are in a . outdoor) of the boys and the girls in the illustrations The analysis of the lessons The textbook contains ten units. The role (active/passive)and the locale (indoor. In terms of the activities also we do not find gender bias. The number of male and female species of animals in the lessons c. Out of the ten child characters in the lessons. outdoor) of the boys and the girls in the lessons d. and watching superman. watching a bird. making a kite. either prose or poetry. out of six boys three are indoor. six are boys and four are girls. Here again there does not seem to visible gender bias. Among four girls. The role (active/passive)and the locale (indoor.3 a. two outdoor and one boy moves from indoor to outdoor. learning to draw. each comprising of two lessons. The number of ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ characters in the lessons b. Among the girls. going in merry-go-round. we have drying one self after the bath. In terms of locale. The number of ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ characters in the illustrations e. This 60-40 percentage need not be treated as evidence of gender bias as ten is a very small number to make judgment and the difference would have been significant if it was like 80-20. one indoor. and one moves from indoor to outdoor. we have swinging. sitting below a tree. watching a rainbow and painting it: among boys. two are outdoor. Let us first look at the number of boys and girls as characters in the lessons.

and the activities like ‘nurturing’ associated with women may become neglected and the so called masculine spaces and activities may dominate the content of the textbook. Only a turtle and a mosquito are unspecified for gender. Circle. where father. Out of eleven lessons with child characters. eight show children being on their own.4 passive role (for the purposes of this paper let us assume that sitting and thinking is a passive activity!). one shows a child watching the superman and only two have families in them. the traditional fields of the ‘home’. Even when the children are in the house. Even a non-animate character like the straw is masculine. a girl learning to draw from grandmother). all other activities can be described as recreational activities. where as a beautiful kite that a boy is making is referred to as she! Thus no conscious effort is made to change the stories to address gender issues. there is an absence of the family. Our Tree. Except for one activity where a boy dries himself after the bath. two sons and a daughter are eating mango). twelve are male with the pronoun ‘he’ used with them. However. mother. Of the fourteen animal characters used. The activities of the children also show a similar pattern. Once a child is shown with a family member. (unit 5. we should notice one significant thing here. There are no community activities and no domestic activities. In terms of the animal characters used in the textbook. . where as all the four girls are actively doing something. This probably reflects one of the dangers when we try to include more women in public spaces in the textbooks. the traditional unmarking for the masculine is evident. and there is one lesson in which all the family members are sitting (unit 6. There is an absence of the ‘domestic’ in these lessons.

forty three are boys and twenty eight girls. if a lesson has a boy as character. We will only look at those illustrations where the choice is independent of the content. Of the 18 . In terms of the locale we again see the dominance of the outer space. Out of the nine pictures accompanying these instructions. seven are boys. Out of the 31 activities that could be specified as active or passive for the boys.e. with the percentage 19-81 in favour of the outdoor. we have instructions like ‘Let’s Read’. This percentage of 61-39 in favour of boys is significant because we are dealing with a bigger number here. boys seem to have more active roles compared to girls. in unit one. three were indoor and 19 outdoor with a percentage of 14-86 in favour of the outdoor. In terms of the characters in all illustrations. The very noticeable thing about the illustrations is that all the pictures accompanying instruction for teacher have female teachers. ‘Say Aloud’ etc. 24 were active and 7 passive. i. the illustrations accompanying the exercises. and the side pictures next to the instructions in the exercises. in 22 cases where locale could be specified. We will ignore all illustrations that are limited by the content of the lesson. For boys in 36 cases where the locale could be specified.5 The Illustrations In illustrations accompanying the lessons we will look at illustrations for the lessons. we will ignore the illustration of the boy because that is specified by the lesson itself. lesson ‘Three Little Pigs’. For example. seven were indoor and 29 outdoor. But with respect to activities. For girls. one a girl and in one case it is difficult to specify. with a percentage of 77-23 in favour of the active. The side pictures accompanying instructions for the exercises also show a gender bias.

To conclude. the girl receives it from her mother. the boy is flying a kite and the girl is helping with the thread. seven are illustrated with male figures.are shown as women. There are some particular cases of obvious gender bias. The number and the role of characters in the lessons do not show gender bias. though there is a neglect of the ‘domestic’. one-that of the astronaut. There is no reason why a farmer. boys outnumber the girls by 5-2 (55). there is an obvious gender bias both in terms of the role and the number of boys and girls. with a percentage of 33-67 in favour of the passive. In page 112. only six were active and 12 passive. the boy has climbed the tree and the girl is receiving the fruits.6 activities for girls. We have a shirt. a list of professions is given. a dentist or an artist can not be illustrated with female unspecified. On a merry-go-round. In the illustrations. The animal characters tend to be male by an overwhelming percentage. In a fair. and two-a doctor and a teacher. Similarly on page 17. but no skirt. . the boys outnumber the girls by 6-3 (54). Thus there seems to be gender bias in illustrations. Some typical illustrations where boys and girls are together show the girl in a secondary position. but there are no girl specific items. The boy takes the fruit from the basket. the textbook MG shows some awareness of gender issues. we have the question ‘Do you wear these things?’ and all the items shown can be worn by either a boy or a girl. Among the 10 professions.

Jamila Hani et all. “Gender Bias in Textbooks: A Hidden Obstacle on the Road to Gender Equality in Education” Paper commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008. Islamabad.7 Works Cited Baharuddin. Munawar. Rae Lesser. “Linguistic Sexism and Gender Role Stereotyping in Primary School Science Textbooks of Qatar” SoLLs. “Gender Analysis of School Curriculum and Text Books” UNESCO. Blumberg. 2004 .INTEC 2011 Proceedings 1. Education for All by 2015: 2007 Mirza Dr.