n Educare - Reading between the lines : gender representation in youth literature

Volume 31, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-8829



Gender roles of both men and women have changed considerably during the past decade. These changes were caused, on the one hand, by a new political dispensation, where equal opportunities for all and the elimination of discriminatory practices in all spheres of life are being sought and by changing social conditions, such as women joining the labour force, on the other. Learners have to be prepared for fulfilling their gender role, as adults, in these changing circumstances. Reading has a major influence on young people's formation of their gender identity. The choice of texts and the way these texts are presented in the classroom should, therefore, be done very carefully, as stereotyping, sexism and biases in texts may be regarded by learners as acceptable and worthy of emulation if their attention is not focused specifically on these misrepresentations.

The article concludes with recommendations on the choice of texts, compilation of reading lists and teaching strategies for gender-sensitive literary teaching.

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