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New Study Shows Unfair Media Coverage of Female Candidates

A study released today by the Women’s Leadership Fund shows that newspaper stories on female candidates are more likely to include personal and family information such as age, marital status, appearance and hair color than equivalent stories on male candidates. Articles on male candidates are more likely to highlight men’s positions on issues such as education, transportation and taxes, according to the study’s results.

“All too often newspapers cover women as personalities, not as leaders,” said Women’s Leadership Fund President Marie Wilson. “With more reporting on female candidates agendas, the public can better evaluate how women will govern.”

The study, “Framing Gender on the Campaign Trail,” concluded that the way female candidates are covered is a barrier for women seeking public office. The research analyzed newspaper coverage of male and female candidates in six 1998 campaigns. The candidates were running in general elections for governor in Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and Rhode Island and for governor and attorney general in Massachusetts’s primaries.

Sources:

Washington Post - October 25, 1999