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Failure to account for diversity among women — based on race, class, and national origin - provides a particularly limited view of their political interests, roles, and trajectories. We both replicate some of her observations and extend her analysis.
While Olivo relied on a personal reading of each text in her sample to evaluate these claims - counting the overall number of pages referring to women, images depicting women, and noting the presence and absence of various topics across texts — we conduct a quantitative content analysis of a larger sample of texts. Hidden Curriculum 7 and location of specific terms. Replicating Olivo , our analysis explores the prevalence of content about women and politics, the concentration of this content in various substantive chapters, and the homogeneity among women portrayed in texts.
Specifically we hypothesize: [H1] Women and politics content is scarce. This analysis allows us to make important comparisons across types of political activity — e. Finally, we offer new insights into introductory-level American politics texts by empirically assessing sources of heterogeneity among them.
While many of the analyses cited here have observed that some texts do a better job than others, no one has systematically explored the link between author characteristics and textbook content. This question has relevance in terms of our curricular analysis but also affords broader insights in gender dynamics in the discipline. Author Sex and Textbook Content The political relevance of female writers is a topic that has been taken up by feminist literary critics.
Moi notes that feminist scholars have both an intellectual and political obligation to take an academic interest in women writers, because the status of the female author tends to reflect the status of women in society see also Miller Only There is also a gender gap in publishing, with women reporting lower levels of scholarly productivity and underrepresentation among authors of articles published in high-impact, peer reviewed outlets e. Hesli and Lee This data suggests women have a weaker impact on the field then their male counterparts.
Interestingly, one area where women are overrepresented is in the subfield of gender and politics. This gendered perspective sometimes shows through in distinctive preferences and styles of political action Sapiro Thus the overwhelming majority of scholarship on gender is produced by women who specialize in the political implications of gender, rather than men.
This is not to say that all women write about women or have a scholarly interest in the political lives of women — to do so would be a rather essentialist claim. We do suspect the political implications of gender are more salient to female faculty — independent of research specialization — given their experiences in a male-dominated profession. Hidden Curriculum 10 women as political actors and policy issues facing women.
Specifically, we expect: [H6] The prevalence and emphasis of gender content varies systematically by author sex, such that female authors include more quantity about women in American political life. A complete list of textbooks is provided in the appendix. Previous work has relied either on index citations e.
Wallace and Allen ; Ferree and Hall or on a personal reading of the texts Olivo Instead, we utilize the increasingly popular eBook format as a means for identifying and extracting key content from textbooks.
This approach biased our sample toward the products of large publishing houses, but allowed us to be more thorough and reliable in our content analysis. We stripped text from the books by using keyword searches to identify pages containing relevant content. Four major publishing houses now produce the overwhelming majority of introductory American politics textbooks.
Nortion 3 , and CQ Press 2. The other two texts are published by Routledge 1 and McGraw Hill 1. This concentration of the market necessitates a careful look at these best-selling textbooks. Therefore, we first located our single search terms, then stripped all of the main text content from each corresponding page. This allowed for a more nuanced textual analysis in Wordstat, a content analysis software.
Duplicates e. The resulting dataset consists of 1, pages of text containing gender content from 22 textbooks — an average of We combine main text and supplemental mentions throughout our analysis. On one hand, discussion of gender in supplemental materials could relegate it to the margins in some ways, making it seem less important or central to the main text content e.
Olivo Alternatively, these mentions may simply be redundant with the main text coverage. Or, the many mentions of gender in supplemental materials such as sidebars, picture captions, quizzes, and the like can also serve as a way of signaling its importance and bringing the gender-linked material to life.
Redundancy may serve to reinforce student learning of the content. Based on these possibilities, we opt not to distinguish between main text and supplemental content in our analysis. Similarly, references to elite behavior were captured by terms including: Female candidate s , woman candidate s , and women leader s. The complete dictionaries for each of the concepts analyzed below can be found in the Appendix Tables A3 and A4.
Results First, we provide some descriptive information to illustrate the prevalence of gender content. Table 1 shows the mean number of mentions per book as well as the range of mentions across our search terms. The most frequently cited category is that composed of woman and women with Note that this is not a page count and multiple mentions can occur on a single page.
We note there is tremendous variation across texts. While in some categories the mean number is rather high, in four of the eight categories the lower end of the range is zero. While some texts seem to be clearly engaging gender in meaningful ways, many do not. Thus, in a separate analyses Hidden Curriculum 13 not shown we searched the content for which mentions were substantive verses non-substantive see full list of non-substantive terms in A2 in the appendix.
Further, her sample contains fewer female authors than does ours. Subsequent analysis will demonstrate how this difference in authorship contributes to some divergence between our studies. Second, we examine the location of content and focus on the mean number of mentions and the percentage of gender content located in the civil rights chapter compared to all other chapters.
In a few content areas, the pattern does not hold. The results are presented in Table 3. Only 14 of 22 texts mentioned any of the search terms in this dictionary. There were only 35 total mentions of all categories across all books. When we consider all of the terms, they are only mentioned on average 2.
There are even fewer mentions of white women, however, the focus on white women may not be explicit. The textbooks in our sample do not note important sources of diversity among women. Indeed, in addition to low numbers overall and for all groups, certain groups of women are particularly ignored — women of color, Asian women, and minority women- are only mentioned one time across all textbooks. The invisibility of minority women in the introductory level texts mirrors their marginalization in American political life.
Also, the socio-demographic composition of female students has changed more rapidly than that of male students, such that issues of race and class are more salient to female students Sax The top half of Table 4 illustrates that are only a total mean number of The category with the highest mean number of mentions - The scant content focused on women as political actors, particularly at the elite level and among women of color, likely has the same effect as content segregation [H2] - reinforcing the conceptualization of women as political outsiders.
Our analysis revealed an average of The least mentioned woman was Michele Bachmann, who was mentioned once. The most frequently mentioned woman was Hillary Clinton, who was mentioned on average 5. The number of mentions varied considerably across texts — from a minimum of 3 mentions to a maximum of 42 mentions.
It is also worth noting that mentions of white female political actors by name typically exceed mentions of women of color. Condoleezza Rice was mentioned an average of.
Mentions of Michelle Obama were slightly more prevalent, averaging 1. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor received the most mentions, averaging 1. These women are mentioned less frequently than white female political actors, who receive an average of 2. Results of public policy mentions are presented in the bottom half of Table 4.
Consistent with our expectation, the two categories that receive the most mentions are reproductive rights and family policy. Pregnancy and reproductive rights receive an average of about 63 mentions per text — more than twice the number of observations for family policy about 28 mentions per text , which is the second most populated category.
The volume of this content relative to other policy areas suggests women do tend to be discussed in terms of their traditional roles and reproductive functions.
The other search terms, with the exceptions of Equal Rights Amendment Here again, four of nine search terms have no mentions. When we examine differences in our initial set of search terms see Table 5 , we find strong 5 We excluded Michelle Bachman and Mercy Otis Warren from this calculation because they were outliers — the only women mentioned in a single text.
Hidden Curriculum 17 evidence that author sex influences content. In every category, the textbooks with one or more female authors have a higher mean number of mentions. Again, we see that texts with female authors consistently contain more gender mentions, on average, than textbooks with no female author. When looking at specific mentions of female political actors by name, we did find that texts with women authors were significantly more likely to mention women by name e.
Texts with at least one female author contained an average of The results suggest female political actors are viewed as more salient or relevant for female authors relative to male authors. Table 7 shows, consistent with prior analysis, that in every category textbooks with female authors have more gender content than do textbooks with only male authors.
Given our interest in whether women tend to be portrayed in terms of their traditional roles as wives and mothers, we looked closely at family and reproductive policy mentions.
While texts written by female authors do contain about 7 Hidden Curriculum 18 more references to reproductive issues than do texts written by male authors, the difference is not statistically significant. This is the largest difference observed across all policy areas, though female authors also spend more time discussing the Equal Rights Amendment, the 19th Amendment, pay equity, and hostile work environments.
We identified the specialty areas of the female authors and note that of the twelve female authors represented across nine books, five of them specialize in women and politics.
Some of these women have co-authored together, and they are represented in the authorship of 3 books. Thus, one-third of the texts with at least one female author were written by gender specialists who likely view women and politics research as more central to the discipline.
However, examination of the specific texts suggests research specialization only partially accounts for the observed differences in content. Author demographics matter, independent of research specialization.
In a separate analysis not shown we examined whether texts with women first authors, who would exert more influence on the final product, included even more gender content. The results were less clear: For most categories fourteen of twenty-two texts with female first authors had a higher number of mean mentions, but in only three cases were the Hidden Curriculum 19 results statistically significant. In several other categories eight of twenty-two the mean numbers were higher in texts with female authors who were not first authors and in two cases this difference was significant.
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