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Title page for ETD etd-08022017-215431


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Brockman, Amanda Jean
Author's Email Address amanda.j.brockman@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-08022017-215431
Title Literary Inequality: Indications and Implications of Gender Disparities in High School Literature
Degree Master of Arts
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dr. Holly J. McCammon Committee Chair
Dr. Richard N. Pitt Committee Member
Keywords
  • classroom content
  • education
  • inequality
  • secondary education
  • gender
Date of Defense 2017-08-11
Availability restrictsix
Abstract
This paper considers classroom gender inequity and its causes. It specifically does this by analyzing the authors and protagonists of major literary works read in United States freshmen English classes. This paper finds that women authors and protagonists are severely underrepresented in classroom content. This study also finds that author gender is correlated with protagonist gender. Thus, if students are assigned works primarily authored by men, it is unlikely that they will encounter protagonists who are girls or women in the works that they read. Cecilia Ridgeway’s theory of gender as a primary cultural frame (2009) and Barbara Risman’s theory of gender as a social structure (2004) are utilized when considering both the immediate and long-term implications of disparities between men and women in classroom content. My findings show that no change is visible between the classroom content read today and thirty years ago. This gender inequity in high schools maintains the unequal overall gender social structure and deserves concerted attention.

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