Gender stereotypes, class prejudice and female warriors in the depiction of women in year 6 Greek primary school history textbooks (1970-1983 and 1997-2006)
Meselidis, S. (2009). Gender Stereotypes, Class Prejudice and Female Warriors in the Depiction of Women in Year 6 Greek Primary School History Textbooks (1970-1983 and 1997-2006). In J. Zajda, K. Freeman (Eds.), Race, Ethnicity and Gender in Education: Cross-Cultural Understandings (pp. 165-181). Dordrecht, Netherlands : Springer.
Using historical-comparative methodology, the aim of this paper is to examine how the depiction of women has changed in government Year 6 core primary school history textbooks, in Greece, between 1970-1983 and 1997-2006, by analysing the stereotypes of female gender roles which undermine women's status in relation to men. This research shows that the texts used between 1970-1983 depict women as essentially wives and mothers, with no immediate public role to play outside the family. However, the texts used between 1997-2006 try to give women more complexity by containing images of them as individuals, scholars, educators and writers also. None of the textbooks, however, refer to any women of lower socio-economic status background, as making any significant contribution to Greek cultural and public life, even though there have been examples of such talented women in the past. The paper, also, discusses the - perhaps - unique cultural depiction of Greek women as fierce warriors, which is inspired by the ancient Spartan model of womanhood and in actual historical events which have stayed in folkloric memory. The political and social tensions behind these depictions are examined, which emerge from the inherent nature of traditional Greek society itself, demographic and cultural change, ... [more]the Church and government policies in keeping with European Union treaties. The paper concludes that still more needs to be done, at the policy level, in order to redress disadvantage for women in Greek society, and suggests ways in which changes can be made to future textbooks to reinforce further equality of opportunity in relation to men, for all women generally.