Gender stereotypes in the Single National Curriculum, Pakistan.
Background: The Single National Curriculum (SNC) sponsored by the Government of Pakistan aimed to provide a level socio-economic playing field for all students. This paper analyzes the books of grades 1-5 under SNC to specifically test the gender biases and stereotypes promoted within them.
Methodology: The paper conducts a detailed inquiry of the various instances of overt and covert misogyny encountered in the text and illustrations of these books through the theoretical framework of the hidden curriculum. It looks at what kind of professional and personal activities men and women are depicted to be engaged in. By tallying all gendered illustrations and using qualitative content analysis to assess gendered textual biases, the research questions whether the state is promoting a certain gender ideology through these revised books.
Results: Several problematic depictions of women and the erasure of gendered minorities are revealed, and questions are raised about the purpose of such discrimination in a state-sponsored curriculum. Women are presented in stereotypical caregiving and similar roles in both public and private spaces, with meager representations in sports, STEM, and other professions. The texts also feature heavy religious sub-texts to lend the content credibility. Since the SNC is created and promoted by the state itself, the overt and covert misogyny in the textbooks exposes the state's endorsement of unequal gender norms in the country.
Conclusion: The SNC textbooks are actively promoting the hidden curriculum of gender inequality which will affect the behaviors and beliefs of the next generation. For the playing fields to be leveled for all, the books should have been gender-sensitive and should have actively reduced gender inequalities through their content. Alas, there are great discrepancies in the vision and the actual reality of the Single National Curriculum.
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