'Invisible Obstacle' to Gender Equality: Gender Stereotype Messages in Early Childhood Education Books in Kenya

Juliet Njeri Muasya, Ruth Mugo Kahiga


Globally, research on gender stereotype messages or 'invisible obstacle' in the teaching and learning materials especially for primary and secondary schools is well documented. Findings from studies show illustrations, images, pictures and language that negatively portray males and females, boys and girls in learning materials and which tend to impact on students’ behaviours, aspirations, experiences, participation, achievement and expectations. The aim of the current study was to find out how gender messages are portrayed in 10 purposively selected Science and English language Early Childhood Education course, supplementary and workbooks using a documentary analysis checklist. Findings from the current study reveal that although authors of the analysed books have to some extent made the books gender responsive, however, gender stereotype messages expressed in masculine and feminine discourses are still visible. Two series of the books analysed are gender blind. Use of gender responsive books is likely to help children appreciate each other's gender, thus, create more equitable learning outcomes. Thus, it is important that any gender stereotype messages or information in learning and teaching materials are dealt with during early years of a child’s life.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/gjes.v4i1.13074


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