Sex Roles [sers] pp311-sers-362482 November 15, 2001 14:44 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Sex Roles, Vol. 45, Nos. 1/2, July 2001 (
Gender Representation in Notable Children’s
Picture Books: 1995–1999
Angela M. Gooden
The Ohio State University
Mark A. Gooden
The University of Cincinnati
Although females comprise 51% of the population, they are represented in less
than that amount in children’s literature. Psychologists and leaders of libera-
tion groups afﬁrm that gender stereotyping in children’s books has detrimen-
tal effects on children’s perception of women’s roles. Therefore, illustrated
children’s books that view women positively can be used to eliminate these
stereotypes. Eighty-three Notable Books for Children from 1995 to 1999 were
analyzed for gender of main character, illustrations, and title. This research up-
dated LaDow’s content analysis method and revealed that contrary to earlier
studies, steps toward equity have advanced based on the increase in females
represented as the main character (S. LaDow, 1979). Although female rep-
resentation has greatly improved since the 70s, gender stereotypes are still
prevalent in children’s literature.
Children’s books have been around since the early 1500s. The traditional
values of the times were reﬂected in these early books. Children’s books also
served as a socializing tool to transmit these values to the next generation.
Additionally, the traditional view of the male work role appeared to be
accepted by the majority of authors writing children’s literature. As a result,
these traditional values were encouraged and valued by all and thus the lack
of female representation was never challenged.
To whom correspondence should be adressed at The Ohio State University, Science &
Engineering Library, 175 West 18th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43210-1150; e-mail: gooden.
2001 Plenum Publishing Corporation