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HREA presents results of study on gender bias in Moroccan schoolbooks

Ministry of Education, Moroccan NGOs and HREA will further collaborate on promoting gender equality

For immediate release
9 December 2005

On 9 December, HREA will announce the conclusion of a study on gender bias in schoolbooks in Morocco. The study was part of a year-long programme to review textbooks in Morocco for human rights and gender equality. The Moroccan Ministry of Education has fully supported the textbook analyses and has welcomed the recommendations prepared by HREA. The Minister himself will attend a press conference of over 200 persons in Morocco's capital Rabat organised by HREA-Maroc.

Fifty primary school books were reviewed. "The list of suggested books covered most subject matters, especially those subjects thought to contain concepts and principles related to human rights and gender equality", explains HREA project coordinator Mustapha Kak. Textbooks for Arabic, Art, French, Family Education, Geography and National Education, History, and Islamic Education were analysed.

Teams consisting of teachers, inspectors, parents, and human rights and women's rights activists in the cities of Tétouan, Fez, Rabat, Casablanca, and Marrakech reviewed textbooks for stereotypes and negative prejudices about women. The study was conducted in cooperation and coordination with the Central Committee of Human Rights and Citizenship of the Ministry of National Education.

Preliminary results show that few female authors were used either in the development of textbooks or referenced within them. At the primary school level, the reference to female authors is limited to 5% in comparison to male authors. This percentage is even lower at the junior high school level which shows references of only 3% for female authors.

"Another striking observation is how stereotyping may be influencing the textbook development process itself,” concludes Mr. Kak. Publishers tend to select women as textbook authors for subject matters like home economics.

HREA will organise a study day in partnership with the Ministry of Education and local women's NGOs in order to further discuss the implications of the study. The full results of the textbook analyses and related recommendations will be made available in January 2006. The study was funded by the United States Institute of Peace.

Presentation by Mr. Abderrahim Sabir about the study PDF [in Arabic]

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HREA is one of the leading organisations worldwide dedicated to education and training in and for human rights. Each year HREA trains hundreds of educators, human rights defenders and legal professionals around the world.

For further information, please contact:
Frank Elbers, Deputy Director: tel: +1 617 301-4303.
Mustapha Kak, Project Coordinator (Casablanca office).


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