The United Nations Agency, UNESCO, says sexist attitudes are “rife” in school textbooks used in developing countries.
In a message to mark International Women’s Day, The UN agency said negative stereotyping undermines the education of girls.
It noted that too often, female figures are represented in textbooks as undertaking domestic roles.
With examples from countries in Asia and Africa, the report says that men in textbooks are more likely to be depicted as business leaders, shopkeepers, engineers, scientists and politicians, while women remain likely to be seen in roles such as cooking or child care.
This it maintains is a hidden obstacle to gender equality.