Why are all dogs male? Gender in Swedish EFL textbooks

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Cathrine Norberg
Marie Nordlund


Studies conducted over the past sixty years have reported stereotypical gender representation in school materials. Initiatives to counteract sexism have led to improvements, and the most overt gender-biased examples are less visible today.  Despite this, studies still report gender imbalances. Since language has an enormous impact on how normative perceptions are created, increased knowledge about how we communicate and create knowledge about gender is needed. This study focuses on gender in EFL textbooks used in Swedish primary school. To reveal patterns of representation, a corpus was constructed and tagged to enable searches. The study reveals both equal and unequal representations. Equal patterns are shown in the numerical representation of proper names, and in verbs and adjectives collocating with females and males. However, animals and fantastic characters identified as either male or female in the books show traditional gender representations, with male characters not only occurring more frequently than equivalent female characters but also being represented as more active and innovative. The pronoun he is also considerably more common than she in the material.

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How to Cite
Norberg, C., & Nordlund, M. (2022). Why are all dogs male?. Educare - Vetenskapliga Skrifter, (3), 186 - 208. https://doi.org/10.24834/educare.2022.3.8


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