We know that books are the part of the social milieu and they attempt to mirror social realities. It is an inseparable organ of education and the key teaching learning material that teachers and students rely upon. Textbook also plays a great role in children’s upbringing by directly or indirectly transmitting models of social behaviour, norms and values. Textbook are therefore a tool for both education and social change. They operates as the vehicle for socialization of the children. But too often the message of the textbook in that women and girls are weak, passive and submissive. They are mostly depicted in domestic, caregiving and supportive roles.
On the other hand, men are portrayed as powerful, assertive and intelligent as well as leader in the society. Thus, textbooks implicitly communicate traditional and limited roles, as a result, such teaching and learning materials reinforce gender stereotypes. Therefore, to promote and achieve the goal of gender equality in education it is essential to redress such type of gendered teaching-learning material. A gender free textbook is considered as the key factor in ensuring gender equality in education. Firstly, the teachers and the textbook producers must be familiar with the textbooks, which again necessitates the gender training for teachers.
The ways of removing gender discrimination from textbook are-
1. One important equality way or approach of removing gender discrimination from textbook is to mainstreaming “Gender” into curriculum, which incorporates the perspective and experiences of both boys ang girls.
2. Teachers should incorporate “Equality” as an inter-disciplinary theme within the textbook.
3. In the textbook, the image of both men and women should be depicted in non-traditional careers.
4. In preparation of the textbooks, teachers or textbook producer should consider the inclusive language for use.
5. Examples in the textbooks should be gender balanced.
6. In the textbook, the teacher or textbook developer should avoid the gender bias terms like mankind, manpower, brotherhood, chairman, etc., rather the gender inclusive terms should be used like-humankind, chairperson, kinship, etc.
7. Textbook developer should avoid portraying male domination in the form of story, prose, poetry, etc.
8. The names, characteristics used in the textbook should be gender balanced.
9. The gender responsive illustrations, charts, pictures and diagrams should be used in textbook which can fill the gender gap in textbook.
10. All representation must be embodied by character of either sex, and role models must be diversified for each sex- both male and female character can do homework and have an occupation.
11. Teacher or textbook developer must introduce the character with multiple identities. For example- a mother who is also a doctor etc.
12. In terms of right, employment, the characters of men and women should be shown in a variety of similar right and occupation.
A gender friendly textbook can promote gender equality in education. In additional to their educational roles- textbook may also be employed in a social context to promote gender equality. Therefore, it is essential to take into account of a textbook’s environment and to involve all the aspects which contribute to the development of a gender responsive textbook and also to the use of it. The role of the teacher and textbook producer is no doubt significant one in developing and using the textbook to promote gender equality in the field of education.