GENDER STEREOTYPE AND CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN NIGERIA: A STUDY OF ONUORA NZEKWU AND MICHAEL CROWDER’S EZE GOES TO SCHOOL, CHINUA ACHEBE’S CHIKE AND THE RIVER, EDDIE IROH’S WITHOUT A SILVER SPOON AND MAI NASARA’S THE MISSING CLOCK

GENDER STEREOTYPE AND CHILDREN’S LITERATURE IN NIGERIA: A STUDY OF ONUORA NZEKWU AND MICHAEL CROWDER’S EZE GOES TO SCHOOL, CHINUA ACHEBE’S CHIKE AND THE RIVER, EDDIE IROH’S WITHOUT A SILVER SPOON AND MAI NASARA’S THE MISSING CLOCK

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ABSTRACT

The persistent imbalance of gender representation in children‟s literature has become an issue. The stereotypes and worldview embedded in children‟s books have become accepted knowledge, and such deep-seated socialized thinking has created barriers that prevent authors from implementing their egalitarian beliefs. The study contends that a huge imbalance exist in the presentation of gender in children‟s literature and therefore investigates the proposition that: despite the positive attributes that typify children‟s literature in Nigeria, the literature is gender biased, gender stereotypes in children‟s literature in Nigeria enhance gender inequality by imparting notions that privilege masculinity and downgrade femininity, and that gender bias exist in content, language, and pictures in a number of children‟s literatures and reinforces the building and maintaining of biases towards the female genders. This study therefore, analyses imbalance in gender relations in selected children‟s books in Nigeria. In doing this, the study uses the following as basis for discourse: underrepresentation of the female in language, content and pictures leading to gender inequality, and the effect of stereotype on the choices children make. The study found out that children‟s literature in Nigeria is gender bias and displays imbalances in the representation of textual characters and as a result there exist the absence of dynamic and positive female characters in the literature produced for the younger ones.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

This research examines the relationship between gender stereotype and children‟s

literature in Nigeria. The study explores the significance of this relationship to the role of

literature as a signifying practice which reveals the contents, structures, and processes that

entrench or encode the notion of gender disparities or discrimination in children, thereby aiding

gender bias in society. In addition to being one of the favourite choices for reading among

children, children‟s literature is central to childhood development beyond the traditional

notions of literacy and learning. In this regard, children engage with stories in the form of

books, films and media, and from these they learn ways to interpret their world and develop

models for participating in their culture, in addition to navigating the complexities of the

contemporary world. Furthermore, children‟s literature like all cultural productions for children

is a parallel educational universe in which one can see glimpses of the future. It constructs and

impacts children‟s developments, sense of identity, and visions of the world. It creates

ambitions and aspirations, models taste and values. It is a potentially world changing form of

literature. Studying children‟s literature means, stu


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