WOMEN’S POLITICAL AMBITION AND REPRESENTATION The democratic consequence of media sexism

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Despite progress overall in women’s rights, two areas where progress has halted are women’s representation in media and politics. Women currently make up 24% of news subjects — those being interviewed, reported on or otherwise shown in the news — globally (GMMP, 2015a). Why does half of the global population and everything they do become condensed into only a quarter of the information we receive? What impact can this have on the roles women aspire to take insocieties?!! Women’s under- and misrepresentation in media are deemed media sexism in this study. Media sexism may have a negative correlation with women’s political ambitions, and help to explain why women in contexts where they have no formal barriers to political competition still choose not to compete. The study at hand argues that media sexism could reduce women’s willingness to run both by producing sexism — reflecting women in a more passive, stereotypicaland unpolitical reality than their actual contributions to society — and reproducing sexism, by acting as a societal mirror that portrays sexism already present in society.!! The potential role of media sexism via indicators from the Global Media Monitoring Project are tested against the share of candidates to the lower house of parliament in this global cross sectional study, supplemented by a case study of media sexism and candidates in Sweden 1979-2014. The study hypothesises that media sexism has a negative impact on the number of women willing to run, and therefore reduces the representativeness and efficiency of democracies around the world.!

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