Gender Representation in Malaysian Mandarin Textbooks

Authors: Lin Wen Yue, Ang Lay Hoon, Chan Mei Yuit, Shamala ap Paramasivam (Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia)
Speaker: Lin Wen Yue
Topic: Language, Gender, Sexuality
CALA 2020 General Session


A number of scholars have studied gender representation in textbooks, but little research focus on how multimodal discourse analysis are applied for exploring gender representation. The present study aims to explore gender representation in two sets of four local Mandarin textbooks written for non-native learners and used in Malaysian universities. Two research questions are posed to examine the ratio of female and male characters and the depiction of female and male characters in social settings, domestic settings and in descriptive words. This study conducts quantitative and qualitative research design, and two methods of data analysis are employed: multimodal discourse analysis (MDA) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), to determine the extend to which gender stereotype in selected samples exist. This is accomplished by investigating the textual, aural, linguistic and visual resources of textbooks. Both the ratio and the depiction of female and male characters are analyzed with Atlas.ti. The findings suggest that the ratio of female and male characters is generally unbalanced in selected samples. Gender stereotypes exist dominantly in depictions of female and male characters, especially in social settings and domestic settings. The implications of this study will be discussed in the context of language education, so to highlight the awareness of existence of gender stereotype in Mandarin textbooks in non-Chinese Heritage countries.

Keywords: Gender Representation; Gender Stereotype; L2 Mandarin Textbook; Multimodal Analysis; Critical Discourse Analysis; Gender