Exploring gendered nature of illustrations in government primary schools’ social studies textbook

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy in Education


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Gender equality in education remains the prime focus of all educational reforms in Pakistan. However, an in-depth analysis of teaching strategies and the textbooks used in Pakistani schools can only discern how these can help achieve gender-based equity. To this end, this study has examined how illustrations in Social Studies Textbook used in Gilgit-Baltistan’s (GB) Government Primary Schools conveyed gendered messages to young learners. The study was carried out in two parts. In part one, the Social Studies Textbook illustrations were analyzed with the help of Gender Analysis Frameworks. An analysis of Gilgit-Baltistan Educational Strategy (GBES) and the national curriculum of Grade five Social Studies was also carried out here. Part two was carried out in two focused schools of GB. The key 24 stakeholders (students; 20,10 girls and 10 boys, Social Studies teachers; 02, principals-02) of these schools and a subject specialist (01) from a teacher training institute were engaged in focus group discussions and interviews for examining the gendered nature of illustrations. The textbook analysis revealed that women and girls' low visibility in the textbook. Only 07% (08 out of 108) illustrations showed occasional rare examples of women inside home, kitchen, small shops, and hardly in politics, whereas most of the illustrations presented men exclusively in the public sphere. The analysis revealed that 49% (50 out of 108) images showed men in the market, mosques, public parks, festivals, and political, cultural, and social spheres. There was a unanimous consensus among the study participants that primary-level social studies textbooks had explicit gender bias as women and men are shown within gender divided in roles and professions. The study, therefore, recommended that the primary stakeholders of educational development and reforms required a better understanding of gender equity, parity, and equality concerning educational policies and practices. In particular, the textbook illustrations should have more grounded and equitable gender representations. Educational organizations responsible for textbook reviews are needed to formulate frameworks to amend the content that brings equality measures to remove gender-biased messages to the young generation of the time. Keywords: Gender equality and equity, Curriculum reforms, Educational policies, textbook analysis, Educational practices, gender nature of Illustrations, equality measures.

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