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CULTURAL EFFECTS ON SEX ROLE IMAGES IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BOOKS IN IRAN: A CONTENT ANALYSIS AFTER THE REVOLUTION

JACQUILINE RUDOLPH TOUBA
International Journal of Sociology of the Family
Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring 1987), pp. 143-158
Published by: International Journals
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23028452
Page Count: 16
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
CULTURAL EFFECTS ON SEX ROLE IMAGES IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BOOKS IN IRAN: A CONTENT ANALYSIS AFTER THE REVOLUTION
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Abstract

A great deal of attention has been paid to the role of women in Iran since the revolution of 1978. Western writers have usually depicted a return to sex role segregation and degradation of the status of women while the local Iranian government claims that women's status has improved since she is now participating openly in the political process. In any case, defining women's place in Iranian society has been considered an urgent matter after the revolution and the formal socializing agents have been among the first to be controlled so as to adhere to the traditional orientation toward women. By examining the elementary school books which are prepared by the central government, it is possible to see how far the values toward sex roles being propagated by the religious clergy have been formally transmitted to the generation of the revolution. Because the books are prepared and distributed by the central government and all students use the same books, it can be said that this is a study of formal sex role socialization patterns within the educational system for the whole Iranian society. The universe consisted of elementary school books for the first through the fifth grades, including books dealing with the Persian language, social sciences, religion and science. Art and mathematics books were excluded because no sex roles were presented. The data were collected by means of content analysis of the roles being played by whom in the books and by comparing the role presented to a standard of traditional roles constructed from the responses of four judges who are Iranian family sociologists, two males and two females. The roles and activities were listed from both pictures and the text and grouped into major types as follows: economic, household, recreational, artistic, scientific, religious, social and political, and personality images. The findings indicated that roles traditionally performed by males were almost always portrayed as such in the school texts for all grades. Significantly, males performed more roles, especially those of an economic, recreational or scientific nature. Female roles, when presented, were traditionally viewed and if a change occurred it was usually the male taking over a female role. When a role was traditionally shared, after the revolution, it was presented as being performed by either one sex or the other with nearly three times as much the male as the female. The patriarchal orientation of the present regime has definitely been incorporated into the elementary texts, Thus, it will serve to reinforce the traditional values concerning women's role in society which are held by a majority of the population. An attempt has been made to do away with any culturally conflicting situation which may have been presented in the past, and curtail movement toward egalitarian norms.

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