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Second Wave feminist researchers identified male-dominated curriculum formats in late twentieth century curriculum materials. This study builds off their work and advances the conversation of women’s inclusion by current United States secondary world history textbook content via a feminist lens to determine the extent of women’s agency in the accounts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The purpose was to determine if textbooks portrayed these patriarchal religions as exclusively male, thereby presenting inaccurate portrayals of the religions and the agents involved, which directly violates NCSS Standards. This study used critical discourse analysis to identify patterns of female marginalization and omission, indicating that modern textbooks still use male-dominated content. This article concludes with pertinent information about early female religious leaders to promote more gender-balanced religious agency discussions in the classroom.

Publication Date

Summer 2018


Social Studies Education Review


Women’s agency, textbooks, Judaism, Christianity, Islam


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Cultural History | Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | History | History of Religion | Islamic World and Near East History | Religion | Secondary Education | Women's History | Women's Studies

On the (Male) Fringes:  How Early Religious Women remain “Subordinate” in World History Textbooks