Women in high school United States history textbooks
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Under representation of women in high school United States history textbooks is a recurring issue. Although this problem has been challenged in the past, the current study finds that, after an early effort to include more women, the momentum faltered. Quantitative methods compared the inclusion of women in early editions to their contemporary counterparts. A second analysis compared inclusion of women to men and whether ratios of inclusion had changed over time. Qualitative methods determined the phase level of inclusion to describe particular ways women were conceptualized in history and underlying messages communicated about women. By using these two methods of analysis it was found that women are still under represented when compared to men and generally represented with a patriarchal view. Two key issues, self-esteem and civic equity, indicate the importance of more inclusion of women. First, research indicates self-esteem and positive female role models are related and that textbooks negatively affect self-esteem when those role models are lacking (Clark, 1994; Trecker, 1971). Secondly, civic equity involves power (Apple, 2000). Apple explains that the continued restraints of inequity in the curriculum facilitates the lack of civic equity and allows the dominant power to remain in place. Because curriculum in high school relies heavily on textbooks, they should be regularly analyzed for content and progress made toward a more inclusive role of women in United States history. Little recent research has focused on whether the inclusion of women or the way women are represented in high school history textbooks has changed over time. This study contributes new research in the area of inclusion of women in visuals and indexes by comparing early edition to contemporary high school United States history textbooks. It also gives a new perspective to the reality of the inclusion of women as it seeks to find if women are portrayed more realistically and equitably in contemporary U.S. history textbooks than in earlier editions.
Access is limited to the campuses of the University of Missouri.