Mediating gendered politics: Ghanaian politicians and news discourse

Donkor, LCS
(2016) Mediating gendered politics: Ghanaian politicians and news discourse. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

[img] Text
200832376_Mar2016.pdf - Unspecified

Download (7MB)


Mediating gendered politics: Ghanaian politicians and news discourse Research has shown that there are gendered differences in media coverage of political candidates. Kittilson and Fridkin (2008) have shown that women, irrespective of what countries they live in, tend to be systematically stereotyped. Female candidates receive less coverage and the content of the coverage often focuses on their age, style, appearance and family status (Ross, 2010). Over the past decades, several studies have also shown that because of the media’s agenda-setting role, slanted coverage helps create and maintain barriers to the political aspirations of female electoral candidates (Bystrom & Dimitrova, 2014). This research considers the extent to which these patterns and trends can be found in African contexts where rather less research has been undertaken on this particular set of mediated relations, taking a case study approach by focusing on the coverage of mixed gender election campaigns in Ghana. In particular, this study explores how the news media in Ghana frame women candidates and what women candidates and elected representatives say about their relationships with and portrayal by the media. Coverage of three election campaigns was analysed and generated a series of related, comparative datasets which focused on both national and party election campaigns, which took place between 2008 and 2011. Eighteen women candidates who stood in the 2012 parliamentary elections were also interviewed across all main parties. The methods of data analysis were a synthesis of content, frame, and discourse. The analyses of both data (news stories and interviews) were framed and interrogated from a feminist perspective. Findings from the analysis of 198 news items suggest that viable women were covered more frequently than men in terms of visibility and less viable women trailed; in terms of tone, coverage tended to be generally more negative for some of the women than the men and it increased with the level of authority of the office. Coverage focused on the women’s personal attributes, especially their familial relationships and novelty, and for the men, their professional attributes. Again, the focus of coverage was mainly, gendered and prejudicial against women, especially in terms of their character traits, familial relationship, and professional (expertise) attributes. The interview findings, also, demonstrated that women were covered more negatively in sexualised and familial frames, compared to their male colleagues. Some women themselves seem to also have very negative attitudes towards the media. Largely, these findings corroborate many other studies on women candidates.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 22 Dec 2016 09:24
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2024 17:21
DOI: 10.17638/03003900
  • Ross, K
  • Richardson, K