S4-D&BP4-4 - Tackling Gender Stereotypes in STEM Educational Resources

2. Research-to-Practice Full Paper
Opeyemi Dele-Ajayi1 , Femi Alufa2, Victor Ayodele2, Jill Bradnum1, Tom Prickett1, Rebecca Strachan1
1 Digital Learning Laboratory, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne. United Kingdom
2 Stemres Learning Initiative, Lagos. Nigeria

This research-to-practice full paper examines stereotypes in government recommended textbooks in science, technology and mathematics textbooks in Nigeria. Globally, more men are studying and working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields than women. This imbalance is also the case in Nigeria. A possible cause of this is the stereotypical gender representation of scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists in popular media and career advertisement. Even more than that, evidence suggests that stereotypes are also prevalent in educational materials used with young people. Given that the aspirations of young people are formed early in their educational journey, it is important to examine the gender bias in educational materials. As part of the DIGISTEM project in Nigeria, the aim of this study was to explore the level of gender bias in the images and language contained in the most frequently used science, technology, and mathematics textbooks recommended by the Nigerian Education Ministry. The study evaluated a total of 2116 visual and text references from 25 government recommended instructional materials. The analysis shows that males are significantly more represented in these resources compared to females. This study maintains that there is a stereotypical representation of scientists and engineers in primary school instructional materials as demonstrated by the imbalance portrayed in the examined textbooks. This paper concludes with an exploration of the implications of these findings on the educational sector and the need to provide a more inclusive approach to educational resources to enable young people to realise that STEM careers and subjects can be for people like them.