Abstract 8, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2016

The Progressive Era: How American History Textbooks’ Visuals Represent Women

Frances Janeene Williams

Pettis County R-V School District

Linda B. Bennett

University of Missouri

Studies of the representation of women in United States history textbooks, both in number and manner in which they appear, have found women are inequitably represented as compared to their male counterparts and are viewed through a patriarchal lens. This study analyzed a contemporary high school United States history textbook’s representation of women in the Progressive Era compared to an earlier edition textbook.  Using their visual representation of women, it was found that the textbooks continued the patriarchal view of women and their roles in society.  Although the number of representations of women had slightly increased over time, these additions did not promote a more contemporary view of women’s role in history, except in the area of women’s rights.  Recommendations for future areas of research are made.  Some are: monitoring of textbooks for equability, analyzing of textbooks covering U.S. history prior to 1877 for equability in inclusion of women in history, investigating what teachers are doing to compensate for the inequity, determining whether or not state standards are inclusive of women’s history, and analyzing how women’s history in college level textbooks represent women in history.

Key words: Secondary social studies, U.S. history, gender studies, textbooks, hidden messages, women, visuals, representation, Progressive Era

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