Investigating Gender Representation as a Socio-Cultural Prominence in Algerian English Secondary School Textbooks

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University of ‘Abbes Laghrour’ Khenchela
Gender is defined as the product of biology, society and culture. Textbooks are an essential vehicle for the socialization of gender at school. Thus, students should be exposed to a balanced view of the roles and responsibilities that males and females share in a society. On this basis, this study aimed at investigating gender representation in the currently used Algerian EFL secondary school textbooks. In pursuance of this aim, the study followed a descriptive analytical approach. The study examined each textbook through a checklist designed by the researcher. The checklist is both structure and content-based. The latter consists of four sections; mainly, language and structure, gender and language, gender visibility and gender over-under representation. Furthermore, the study was followed by a questionnaire that aimed to investigate Algerian secondary school English language teachers’ perceptions of gender in textbooks. The questionnaire sought to shed light on whether or not teachers have gender awareness towards existing biases and how they deal with them. To this objective, a questionnaire was administered to 256 educators teaching at different secondary schools throughout Algeria. Findings of the textbooks’ analysis revealed that all three textbooks have gender unequal representation and visibility. The findings indicated that there is an underrepresentation of females in all analysed textbooks. In the same line of thought, the findings of the questionnaire revealed that teachers perceived gender as an important social variable although they were unaware that they held gender biased perceptions. Finally, it is recommended to do a replication study with a bigger sample to include other valuable variables to the topic such as culture and educational background.