Gender differences in political media coverage: a meta-analysis

Do the media cover men and women politicians and candidates differently? This article performs a systematic analysis of 90 studies covering over 25,000 politicians in over 750,000 media stories, and presents the accumulated knowledge in a comprehensive theoretical framework. The paper shows that there is a gender bias in the amount of coverage of politicians in proportional electoral systems, where women politicians lag behind men in media attention, but that, surprisingly, this gender bias is absent in majoritarian electoral systems. In addition, we systematically review gender differences in the content of media reports on political candidates, such as differences in attention to private life and family, viability and horse-race coverage, issue coverage, and gender stereotypes. Overall, women politicians receive more attention to their appearance and personal life, more negative viability coverage, and, to some extent, stereotypical issue and trait coverage. We conclude by pointing out promising avenues for future research.

Van Der Pas, D., & Aaldering, L. (2020). Gender differences in political media coverage: a meta-analysisJournal of Communication70(1), 114-143.

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