ERIC Number: ED380353
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Feb
Gender Bias: Inequities in the Classroom.
IDRA Newsletter, v20 n2 p8,11-12 Feb 1993
This article explores sex bias in curricular materials for elementary and secondary schools. Sex bias is defined as a set of unconscious behaviors that, in themselves, are often trivial and generally favorable. Although these behaviors do not hurt if they happen only once, they can cause a great deal of harm if a pattern develops that serves to reinforce stereotypes of either sex and promote distrust. The article discusses studies of how bias takes root and is perpetuated through schools' curricular materials. A 1975 study showed how sex stereotyping and bias were perpetuated in the text books in use at that time for grades 1 through 6 in the areas of mathematics, science, reading, spelling, and social studies. That study tallied the characters presented by gender, ethnicity, age, by what activities they were involved in, and by how they were depicted. The researchers found that boys were portrayed almost without exception in active, energetic roles. Girls were shown most frequently to be watching and waiting. The study discovered that the percentage of girls and women in texts declined steadily by grade level, resulting in far fewer adult female role models than male. A 1992 study also found rampant gender bias in school texts, presenting 5 model forms that bias can take in instructional materials: (1) invisibility; (2) imbalance/selectivity; (3) unreality; (4) fragmentation/isolation; and (5) linguistic bias. Three basic goals evolved in the quest for gender inequity: (1) equality; (2) the elimination of bias and development of the healthy individual; and (3) the building of trust between the sexes. (DK)
Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Classroom Research, Educational Discrimination, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Females, Role Models, Sex, Sex Bias, Sex Stereotypes, Social Studies, Textbook Bias, Textbook Content
Intercultural Development Research Association, 5835 Callaghan Road, Suite 350, San Antonio, TX 78228-1190.
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A