This paper examines the current representations of gender roles and heteronormativity in a corpus of textbooks used to teach English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in Spanish high schools. Several studies have documented the importance of recognizing problems of homophobic harassment and gender bias which may result in a significant number of students feeling excluded. It is notable that textbook publishers have failed to address this issue despite its relevance to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), raising the question of why this continues to go unnoticed by textbook publishers. The corpus selected comprises two sets of textbooks printed by leading publishers in the area of EFL. In order to gain insight into this issue, we have conducted a qualitative study analyzing the role of textbooks in perpetuating heteronormativity and stereotyped gender roles by exemplifying the naturalized heterosexual and male/female identities. Data were coded under two broad variables: heteronormativity and gender, which in turn were broken down into different units of analysis. The results suggested that heteronormativity still permeates the whole curriculum and that attempts to gender-balance need to be improved by reducing the number of male protagonists. Textbooks fell into some of the same clichés with regard to gender-related stereotypes, such as almost exclusively linking women with shopping and fashion. It is evidently clear from the findings that textbooks should be revised to ensure the right to quality education for all and to make students aware of SDGs, since 7 out of 17 are related to the target topics.
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