From a very young age, most children are exposed to literature. Whether it is a nightly bedtime story read to them by their parents, a read aloud to enhance a lesson being taught at school, or they are simply reading on their own, children are exposed to books. Within those books, there are bound to be stereotypes and bias, especially those relating to women and gender. In addition, books aimed for children represent females far less than males in numerous ways. This study looks at how the portrayal and representation of women in children’s literature has changed over time by analyzing 60 randomly selected children’s books published between 1961 and 2012, taking note of the representation and stereotypes of females present in both the texts and illustrations of the books. The results of the study show females are being represented less than males in various aspects, and females are still being portrayed in gender-stereotypical roles with no evidence for improvement of gender representation found over time. Furthermore, considerations are made about the impact of the results of the study on education. Students should be exposed to a diverse selection of literature that will not only allow them to see themselves and their lives in the story, but challenge their perspectives. In addition, the results are discussed in such a way that emphasizes the idea that children are impressionable at a young age and therefore, the idea and stereotypes presented in children’s literature affects their development and perceptions of society.
Semester/Year of Award
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Associate University Librarian, Learning Resource Center
Restricted Access Thesis
Curriculum and Instruction
Hester, Abigail, "Gender Through Generations: How Gender Stereotypes and the Portrayal of Women in Children’s Literature Has Changed Over Time" (2020). Honors Theses. 742.