Czech textbooks rife with gender bias

// 15 June 2005

Textbooks in Czech schools are rife with gender bias full of “discouraging” role models for girls, Women’s eNews reports today.

This has come to light after a government funded study examined gender in primary school textbooks – one example had girls shown consistant giving the wrong answer to maths problems, and boys correcting them.

But the Czech government is not planning to withdrawn the textbooks, just substitute more girl-friendly textbooks when they would otherwise have been replaced. Women’s eNews points out this is in stark contrast to neighbouring Germany, where a textbook with one egregious image would be instantly withdrawn. But before criticising the Czech Republic too much, it should be remembered that they are obviously in a very different economic situation.

Since 2002, teachers have been taught to identify and avoid gender stereotyping, but the subject is not taken seriously – when the government decided to fund the investigation into textbooks, at $2,000, it was lampooned by the press and even Prague’s Gender Studies Institute published comments on its website calling it into question.

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