Tackling Gender Stereotypes in STEM Educational Resources

Opeyemi Dele-Ajayi, Jill Bradnum, Tom Prickett, Rebecca Strachan, Femi Alufa, Victor Ayodele

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
58 Downloads (Pure)


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. One contributor to this imbalance is stereotypical gender representation of scientists, mathematicians, engineers and technologists in popular media and career advertisement. Previous research indicates 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 particularly pertinent to examine the gender bias in educational materials. As part of the DIGISTEM project, a World Bank-sponsored 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. This 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 than females. This study highlights 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. This study took place in Nigeria; however, we recognise similar challenges and opportunities in a number of other jurisdictions which provides a foundation for replicability, portability and extension to this work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)
Place of PublicationPiscataway
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728189611
ISBN (Print)9781728189628
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2020
EventIEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education 2020: Education for a Sustainable Future - Uppsala Konsert & Kongress, Uppsala, Sweden
Duration: 21 Oct 202024 Oct 2020


ConferenceIEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education 2020
Abbreviated titlefie2020
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Tackling Gender Stereotypes in STEM Educational Resources'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this