Gender Representation in Education: Critical Discourse Analysis of Urdu Textbooks used in Primary Government Schools in Punjab

Munaza Hasan Nasir





This research aims to explore the gender equality or lack thereof in the Urdu textbooks taught in Punjab, Pakistan.  Gender bias in textbooks is an important but almost invisible and overlooked problem.  Five Urdu textbooks taught in primary government schools in Punjab were selected for critical discourse analysis.  Both qualitative as well quantitative research methods were adopted.  The number of female and male characters, portrayal of domestic and professional roles by both genders, and cosmetic bias was taken into account.  In all five books analyzed, 28% characters were women whereas remaining were male characters.  Female characters were mostly found in domestic situations with insignificant roles in the stories who did not have a name or an identity except being mothers.    The text was highly biased towards the male characters associating valor and strength with men only.  Since textbooks play a crucial role in the development of the children, it is important to remove the concealed gender bias in textbooks and acknowledge the changing roles of women in the Pakistani society in order to create a society that treats men and women equally.

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