Textbooks pay males more attention

MALES turn up almost twice as often as females in primary school textbooks, a Chinese University of Hongkong study has found.

According to Mr Kit-chun Au, an instructor in the university's Curriculum and Instruction Department, the ratio of male to female characters is 1.9 to one.

The study, which involved textbooks for Chinese Language, Social Studies and Health Education, reported that the male sex accounts for 70 per cent of the characters having jobs in the textbooks. This is eight per cent more than the actual proportion of males in the Hongkong work force.

Many of the types of jobs mentioned in the textbooks are done by men, and a number of the jobs featured even appear to be exclusively for males.

Even in leisure activities, men seem to participate two-third more times than the women, and the latter appear to be prohibited from taking part in sports.

World-famous figures quoted in the textbooks are mostly male. Of the few female examples cited, only their contributions or important innovations are listed, while their names are not given.

The study, titled A Study of Gender Roles as Defined in Primary School Textbooks in Hongkong , is published in Chinese with an English abstract. Interested readers can contact the Hongkong Institute of Asia-Pacific studies for further information at 609-7134.