One of UK’s biggest textbook makers promises to ‘reverse harmful gender stereotypes’

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Textbooks and exams could soon show girls disguised as firefighters and boys watering plants after one of the country’s largest education companies launched plans to tackle gender bias.

Pearson, who owns the Edexcel review board and produces resources for schools, today announced guidelines for “overturning” gender stereotypes and “avoiding unconscious bias.”

The movement, which was developed in close collaboration with the Fawcett Society, will show girls as firefighters, astronauts and mechanics and boys watering plants, baking cakes, playing in an artificial kitchen and participating in a dance competition.

The company said it would “be careful to avoid content that conforms to role stereotypes” and “avoid the harmful suggestion that roles are associated with or appropriate to one gender.”

It comes after research has shown that experiences of early gender bias can have long-term negative effects.

Pearson, who owns the Edexcel review board and produces resources for schools, had announced plans to “reverse” gender stereotypes. (Stock Image)

A poll by the Fawcett Society also showed that 51% of respondents noted that gender stereotypes limited their career choices and 45% said they felt they were supposed to behave a certain way when they were. children.

The guidelines state that employees should “avoid unconscious biases” in gender-attributed behaviors when creating learning materials for children – for example, “a woman being sensitive” or “an assertive man. “.

He adds that staff should “promote women and girls in traditionally male roles and vice versa”.

“Show women the business owners, paint the house, wear the lab coat and fix the car and the men take the kids to school, bake the birthday cake for coworkers, take the debriefing.” meeting and teach the primary class ”adds.

Staff are advised to make sure they have female robots, dinosaurs, and animals, but avoid assigning stereotypical feminine or masculine traits or appearances – such as adding “long eyelashes to an animal for. indicate that it is a female or a bow tie for Masculin ‘.

The gender equality guidelines add that employees should “seek out and eliminate unconscious bias in fictitious charts / counts / data” – such as a full-time payroll where the majority of men are paid more than women.

Gender-neutral terms should also be used rather than the generic term “man”, such as “humanity” rather than humanity, and the singular “they” as a pronoun should be used “wherever possible,” adds guide.

The guidelines will also remove the unconscious bias in the fictitious graphs and in the counts that show that the majority of men are better paid than women when it comes to full-time wages.

The company, which has recognized the long-term negative impact of gender stereotypes on children, will use the guidelines to develop all of its future textbooks, digital resources and skills.

Textbooks and exam papers will see proportionally more women than men as scientists, CEOs and doctors and proportionately more men than women working in nursing or caring for children at home.  (Stock Image)

Textbooks and exam papers will see proportionally more women than men as scientists, CEOs and doctors and proportionately more men than women working in nursing or looking after children at home. (Stock Image)

Pearson’s Bug Club shared titles for elementary schools now contain a book about Junko Tabei – the first woman to reach the top of Mount Everest.

Meanwhile, another book, My Shadow And Me, features a single dad in a caring role and the toys are neutral, Pearson said.

The guidelines will be distributed to the company’s 22,500 employees in 70 countries over the next 12 months.

Sharon Hague, Senior Vice President of Pearson Schools UK, said: “Gender stereotypes strike early and strike hard. The messages we send to children, at home, at school and as a society, have a huge influence on the choices we make.

“As a primary learning provider, Pearson has the power to help teachers dispel gender biases, reverse stereotypes and play an important role in opening up the choices available to young people.

Sam Smethers, Executive Director of the Fawcett Society, said: “We are truly encouraged that the staff at Pearson have recognized the importance of addressing gender stereotypes and are keen to play their part in the change.

“These guidelines are a practical way to make a real difference.

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