Implicit Gender Inequality in Children’s Picture Books: Evidence from a Text Mining Analysis of 200 Bestselling Chinese and British Titles

Yi Li*, Melissa Terras, Yongning Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

As the primary resource for preschool children, picture books,
and their gender narratives, can unconsciously shape and change
children’s perceptions of sex roles and gender identity (Bleakley et
al., 1988; Connor & Serbin, 1978; Latima, 2020). However, existing
studies show concerning trends in the representation of gender
inequality in modern picture books, such as the overwhelming
number of male main characters and traditional gender stereotypes
of vocations, personalities and habits (Casey et al., 2021; Hamilton
et al., 2006; Lee & Chin, 2019; Terras, 2018). It is therefore
important for children’s picture books to have diverse gender descriptions
and improved equal gender representations.
Since the second Feminist Movement in the 1960s, gender equality
in UK children’s picture books have been continuously examined
yet slowly improved (Adams et al., 2011; Allen et al., 1993;
Capuzza, 2020; Hamilton et al., 2006). Similar studies have been
far less common in China, as the Chinese picture book market only
developed from the start of the 21 st Century (Xiao, 2021). One
study has shown the existence of the traditional gender biases in
Chinese picture books (Liu & Chen, 2018). Based on the research
gap between these two countries, this study will (1) investigate
gender representations and narratives in picture books, (2) compare
the similarities and differences between bestselling British
and Chinese picture books texts from 2010 to 2020. We do so by
applying text mining techniques to analyse gender narratives within
picture book texts themselves. This follows on from our 2022
study where we analysed publisher’s descriptions of texts, rather
than full text mining of the book’s content (Li et al., 2022).
Original languageEnglish
Pages328-331
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023

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