Gender stereotyping in EFL grammar textbooks. A diachronic approach

Marcin Lewandowski


Gender stereotyping in educational materials (especially in EFL textbooks) has been a common theme in linguistic research (cf., e. g., Hellinger 1980; Porreca 1984; Freebody/Baker 1987; Sunderland 1994; Lee/Collins 2010). However, very little attention has been paid to the representation of men and women in EFL/ESL grammar textbooks; i. e. the way both genders are portrayed in constructed examples of usage and practice sentences. The present contribution is intended to fill this gap. The paper investigates the scope of gender stereotyping from a diachronic perspective: it seeks to demonstrate whether and how the images of men and women have changed following the dissemination of guidelines for non-sexist language and equal treatment of the two genders in English language educational materials. To this aim, two corpora have been compiled. The first one includes sentences derived from three EFL textbooks published in the 1970s and 1980s, while the other one contains analogous data from three 21st century titles. The contrastive analysis of the sentences in the two corpora across 11 semantic domains has found that the recently published grammar textbooks portray the two genders in a much less stereotyped way than the 20th century course books.