"Women Should Be Represented As Equals": UNESCO Urges Govts To Impart Gender-Sensitive Education

The report mentions revision by the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research in 2019 where men and women share household chores.

India   |   30 Jun 2020 1:14 PM GMT / Updated : 2020-07-01T10:47:59+05:30
Writer : Navya Singh | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Abhishek M
"Women Should Be Represented As Equals": UNESCO Urges Govts To Impart Gender-Sensitive Education

In a major setback to the education system across the world, UNESCO's recent Global Education Monitoring Report has showed that women and girls are under-represented in school textbooks and are mostly depicted in traditional roles in many countries.

The report has urged governments to revamp the education systems to make them more inclusive, diverse and accessible to all. It also points out that not only the number of images of female characters included in the textbooks is very less in comparison to those of males, women are also represented in "less prestigious" occupations and as introverts and passive.

While portraying men as doctors and women as nurses, only showing women in subjects related to food, fashion or entertainment, showing women in voluntary roles and men in paid jobs, are among some of the major gender stereotypes pointed out in the report.

The Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM Report) is developed by an autonomous team and published by UNESCO. The report gives an in-depth analysis of key factors for the exclusion of learners in education systems worldwide, including background, identity and ability, gender, age, location, poverty, disability, ethnicity, indigeneity, language, religion, migration or displacement status, sexual orientation or gender identity expression, incarceration, beliefs and attitudes.

The report also takes note of attempts by some countries to revise the textbook images to reflect a better gender balance. The report mentions revision by the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research in 2019.

"For instance, grade 2 textbooks show men and women sharing household chores, along with a female doctor and a male chef. Students are asked to note these images and talk about them," the report said.

"In Afghanistan, women were almost absent from grade 1 textbooks published in the 1990s. Since 2001, they have been more present but in passive and domestic roles as mothers, caregivers, daughters and sisters. They are mostly represented as a dependent, with teaching being the only career open to them," the report said.

"Chilean grade 4 history textbooks had 2 female characters for every 10 male, and their historical contributions were represented with stereotyped views linked to domestic chores. The grade 6 science textbook had 2 female vs 29 male characters," it added.

Women's under-representation in textbooks was also observed in Italy, despite its participation in a European Union project in which textbook publishers agreed to improve gender equality in 2017.

"In Turkey, primary school textbooks presented unequal social roles and a patriarchal understanding of family unquestioningly, and secondary school textbook language exhibited sexism," it stated.

Also Read: NASA Names Washington Headquarters After Its First Black Female Engineer Mary Jackson

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Navya Singh

Navya Singh

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"Writing and speaking about the matters where they don't shed light, I'm always on my toes to bring out the untold, unheard stories from the background of Economy and Defense."

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