GENDER BIAS IN CHILDREN’S BOOKS: how did the 19th century children’s literature represent gender? Open Access

Song, Mina (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL:


As children begin to develop their gender identity, one of the most influential factors is the book they read. However, gender bias is present in many children’s books, which can be seen in the gendered depiction of characters. To explore this issue, this project investigates how gender is portrayed in the ChiLit corpus, which consists of 70 children’s books published in the 19th century. Using methods of descriptive statistics, sentiment analysis, and word embedding models, I detect and document instances of gender bias in the corpus: namely, the male characters appear much more than female characters, and both genders are associated with stereotypical gender roles for the 19th century. These findings clearly show gender bias in the space of book characters and their dialogue in the 19th century children’s literature. 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 3: Corpus

Chapter 4: Methods and Results

4.1 BookNLP and Descriptive Statistics

4.2 Sentiment Analysis

4.3 Non-contextualized Word Embeddings, Word2Vec

4.4 Contextualized Word Embeddings, BERT

Chapter 5: Conclusion

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files