A Hidden Curriculum? Examining the Gender Content in Introductory-Level Political Science Textbooks

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Gender mainstreaming is a curricular reform emphasizing the inclusion of gendered perspectives into required coursework for the political science major. The burden of mainstreaming gendered content (along with other diversity subjects) ultimately lies with the instructor, who must provide a rigorous, comprehensive, and intellectually challenging course. To the extent that instructors rely on textbooks to structure (and even streamline) course development, the textbook is an important entry point for exploring the prevalence of gender content in the political science curriculum. Given the symbolic status of textbooks as repositories of official knowledge for the discipline (Ferree and Hall 1996), the exploration of content on women in introductory-level American politics textbooks offers insight into the messages students commonly receive about the role of women in American political life. Copyright © 2013 The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association.

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