Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


Intended for use by educators, librarians, and parents, this study analyzed Newbery Medal Award winners from 1985 to 1995 for gender bias. The items under analysis included the number of females or males represented in the titles, the gender of the authors, the number of females and males as main characters, and the role of the main character(s).

The results indicate a trend toward a less biased representation of females who engaged in counter-gender-type activities more often than males. Seven (64%) of the 11 books were written by female authors while 4 (36%) were written by male authors. Females were named in 1 (9%) title, males were named in 2 (18%) titles, and 8 (73%) titles were gender neutral. Of the 14 main characters portrayed, 6 (43%) were female while 8 (57%) were male. There were 4 (29%) active/nontraditional female main characters and 2 (14%) passive/traditional female main characters. All 8 (57%) male main characters were active/traditional.

A review of research of gender bias in children's literature, picture books, fairy tales, and language precedes the study.