The gender of news and news of gender: A study of sex, politics, and press coverage of the 2010 british general election

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Ross, K. ; Evans, E. ; Harrison, L. ; Shears, M. ; Wadia, K. ed (2013)

In the months leading up to the 2010 British General Election, pundits were claiming that women would be specifically targeted by all political parties. However, this focus never materialized and it was just more business as usual but with the added novelty of televised leaders’ debates, which meant that coverage was more male ordered\ud than ever. The study on which this article is based monitored articles published in the four weeks leading up to election day across twelve newspapers, comprising a mix of dailies and weekend editions, broadsheets and midmarket, and tabloid titles. The study concentrated on articles that had the election as the main story and which mentioned\ud or sourced one or more candidates, both MPs seeking reelection, and Parliamentary Candidates. We were interested in exploring (any) differences in the news coverage of women and men candidates, looking at both frequency and content. Our findings suggest that women were much less likely to feature in news stories than men, even when controlling for Party Leader coverage. Women were much more likely to be mentioned or quoted in feature articles focused explicitly on gender issues, made interesting because of their sex and couture rather than their political abilities and experience.
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