A Critical Discourse Analysis of Gendered Representations in Afaan Oromoo Textbook

  • Adugna Barkessa


The objectives of this paper are to describe texts and illustrations used to represent female and male genders in grade 11 Afaan Oromoo textbook, to examine messages of the representations and to explain the nexus between ideology and power in the representations of female and male actors in the textbook. The textbook was selected from the textbook series introduced for grades 9-12 in 2012 using a simple random sampling technique. Female and male genders-related texts and illustrations were collected from the textbook through document analysis. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis in conjunction with critical discourse analysis following Fairclough’s (1992) model of analytical framework. The findings show that the textbook was dominated in most and monopolized in some parts by texts and illustrations that favor male actors. Binary oppositions - weak vs. strong, illiterate vs. literate, skilled vs. less skilled, rich vs. poor, small vs. big, misleading vs. truthful, etc. were used to represent female and male actors, respectively. These descriptors convey negative messages about female and positive messages about male actors. The messages show asymmetrical power relations between the two sexes. This can promote stereotypical thinking, may lower girls’ participation in classroom activities and can deter their efforts from competing with boys in education. The textbook needs to be revised balancing verbal and non-verbal representations and roles of female and male genders. As an immediate intervention, Oromia Educational Bureau needs to give short term on job training for teachers, writers/ editors on gender parity in education.

Keywords: Critical discourse analysis; Discursive representation; Gendered representation

Author Biography

Adugna Barkessa

Addis Ababa University, Afaan Oromoo Department

PhD in Applied Linguistics and Development