The Role of Women in Business English Textbooks (1970s-2010s)
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DepartmentFilología Francesa e Inglesa
SourceESP Today, Vol. 10, Núm. 1, pp. 145-168
Business English textbooks help students learn not only the language used in the world of business but also about the organizational structure of different companies as well as interaction in the workplace. This research examines the evolution of the professional role of women in Business English textbooks in the last fifty years. For this purpose, we analyzed thirty-five Business English textbooks published between the 1970s and the 2010s. Firstly, we recorded the different jobs done by women included in these books and classified them in four different occupational groups: managers, professionals, technicians, and clerks. As expected, the number of jobs held by women in these textbooks gradually increased over time although there has been likewise a remarkable decrease in clerical jobs as managerial and professional jobs experienced a simultaneous increase; the incidence of female technicians was consistently low. Regarding female representation in textbook pictures, whereas in the 1970s women were depicted in traditional female roles, we can observe how they are progressively portrayed in managerial positions. Furthermore, their visibility in general increased noticeably over the years. On the other hand, the representation of actual businesswomen in textbooks as case studies or part of reading comprehension exercises is quite limited.