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A glass ceiling in the online age? Explaining the underrepresentation of women in online political news


Humprecht, Edda; Esser, Frank (2017). A glass ceiling in the online age? Explaining the underrepresentation of women in online political news. European Journal of Communication, 32(5):439-456.

Abstract

In previous decades, women in Western countries have gained more influence in various social realms. The percentage of females in higher education, the workforce, boards at publicly traded companies and national parliaments has increased. However, substantial underrepresentation of women in political news has remained. To explain the reasons behind this gender imbalance in news content, we conducted a content analysis of different types of online news in six Western countries. In our study, we distinguish among three levels of analysis: (1) the story level (frequency and format), (2) the media organization level (popular vs mass and upmarket outlets) and (3) the societal level. The results indicate that female actors are most frequently covered by popular news outlets and are more likely to be depicted in a photograph. Furthermore, strong determinants of continued gender differences in political news were found at the country level. Specifically, coverage increases in countries where gender equality is progressing in major parts of society.

Abstract

In previous decades, women in Western countries have gained more influence in various social realms. The percentage of females in higher education, the workforce, boards at publicly traded companies and national parliaments has increased. However, substantial underrepresentation of women in political news has remained. To explain the reasons behind this gender imbalance in news content, we conducted a content analysis of different types of online news in six Western countries. In our study, we distinguish among three levels of analysis: (1) the story level (frequency and format), (2) the media organization level (popular vs mass and upmarket outlets) and (3) the societal level. The results indicate that female actors are most frequently covered by popular news outlets and are more likely to be depicted in a photograph. Furthermore, strong determinants of continued gender differences in political news were found at the country level. Specifically, coverage increases in countries where gender equality is progressing in major parts of society.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:24 July 2017
Deposited On:24 Aug 2017 15:03
Last Modified:09 Dec 2017 01:55
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0267-3231
Funders:SNF
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0267323117720343

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