Media Coverage and Electoral Politics in Canada
In the last fifty years, many of the institutional and societal barriers that kept Canadian women from public office have disappeared. Today, women are well-educated and well-connected, and enjoy generally equal treatment from political parties and voters. Why, then, do women constitute only a quarter of Canada’s representatives in the House of Commons -- a proportion that rose by just seven percentage points between 1993 and 2011?
In this illuminating study, Elizabeth Goodyear-Grant examines a significant barrier still facing women in political life: gendered media coverage. News stories are more likely to investigate the personal lives of female politicians or question their aptitude for public life, implicitly suggesting that women in public life are still marginal, or even unwelcome. These inequities in media representation undermine a politician’s credentials and call into question her fitness for office. They also lead female politicians to expect a focus on the non-professional aspects of their lives, and to censor themselves accordingly.
Based on interviews with MPs and party leaders, and an analysis of print and television media in the 2000 and 2006 federal elections, Gendered News reveals an unsettling climate that affects the success and career longevity of women in office and could deter them from running at all.
This book will interest students and scholars of Canadian politics, media studies, and gender studies.
- 2014, Short-listed - Donald Smiley Prize, Canadian Political Science Association
- 2016, Winner - Pierre Savard Award, International Council for Canadian Studies
Gendered News is the first book on gender, media, and politics in Canada, and it adds hugely to scholarly debate about the role played by the mass media in political life. It examines gendered reporting from three angles: how it is manifested in election news coverage, who is responsible for generating it, and its impact on audience reception. Goodyear-Grant’s rich analysis incorporates interviews with twenty-seven members of Parliament, including former party leaders, who provide their understandings of media bias.
Given the continued concern surrounding low levels of female participation in politics, Gendered News is extremely timely. By making a direct link between news coverage of politicians and voters’ assessments of them, Goodyear-Grant’s findings go far beyond the current literature. This book will become a highly-regarded and much-referenced text in future scholarship on women and politics, both in Canada and elsewhere.
1 Visibility in the News
2 Quality of News Coverage
3 Who Is Responsible? Explaining Gendered News
4 Backlash or Boost? The Effects of Attack-Style News
5 Media Effects on Politicians’ Experiences of Their Political Careers
Appendices; Notes; Works Cited; Index
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