Using children’s literature to promote gender equality in education: The case of the fairy tale of Ndabaga in Rwanda
The purpose of this study is to investigate how educational use of Rwandan children’s literature, mainly fairy tales, can challenge traditional gender roles in Rwandan education. Indeed, researchers in and authors of children’s literature argue that the manner in which gender is represented in children’s literature impacts children’s attitudes and perceptions of gender appropriate behaviour in society. In this respect, contents with gender stereotypes can offer children a privileged opportunity to re-examine their gender belief and assumptions, leading them to adopt more egalitarian attitudes. Children’s reflections on gender equality in a fairy tale of Ndabaga, a female protagonist portrayed in non-traditional gender roles are analysed. The findings show that children of both sexes reacted positively to the female character, portrayed in male roles, which has been traditionally unacceptable. All children expressed positive attitudes toward a change of traditional gender roles as the latter obstructs full realisation of females’ rights.
Key words: children’s literature, fairy tales, gender equality, egalitarian attitudes.