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NCERT to carry out gender analysis of primary text books

Primary textbooks of six states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, J&K, Rajasthan and Jharkhand - will be analyzed by the NCERT to check ...

NEW DELHI: Primary textbooks of six states - Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, J&K, Rajasthan and Jharkhand - will be analyzed by the NCERT to check if they are gender inclusive. Early this year, NCERT did a gender analysis of primary textbooks of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and found gender bias in textbooks of many subjects.

"Gender analysis will be done across disciplines. Attitudes are formed at the primary level. It is important to teach children that women are not part of welfare category but integral to the development strategy," says Gouri Srivastava, head, department of gender studies, NCERT. Textbooks of J&K, she says, will be the first to be taken up. However, she says, the idea behind gender analysis of textbooks is not to criticize states. "We want to work with them and help them. Therefore, analysis is done in a workshop mode where state representatives are also called," she says.

Gender analysis of textbooks will look into gender bias, gender stereotyping, gender neutral or gender inclusive aspects of textbooks. NCERT has developed an evolved tool to test textbooks. It will look into adjectives used for boys and girls, men and women, see if diversity in men and women is reflected in the text, roles assigned to boys/men/women/girls and refer to customary practices among other things. The tool will also analyse if marginalized groups and their cultures and lifestyles are represented and whether prejudices are mentioned and the narratives speak only of a particular caste and class. It will also analyse how women are reflected in different domains of society in relation to family, school, workplace and society. An important aspect will be to find out as to who are shown as agents of change through struggle, dissent, movements, scientific attitude and scientific achievements.

NCERT has also developed gender guidelines for textbook writers. They are asked to give priority to themes reflecting equal contribution of men and women to the society and selection of characters in different subject areas to reflect both men and women's achievement in a balanced manner. Use of gender inclusive terms - humankind instead of mankind, story of humans instead of story of man, police officer instead of police man, staffing instead of manning - is encouraged. Also, in case customary practices are mentioned, reasons for its existence need to be given.

Source : Times of India




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