Media Construction and Representation of Women in Political Leadership Positions

By: Bimbo Lolade Fafowora  

The presence of Theresa May and Angela Merkel among others on the highest political stage in their respective countries shows that women have made significant progress in their quest for inclusion in political participation and decision making. However, empirical evidence reveals that women are yet to achieve gender parity in political participation globally. Although 49.6 percent of the world’s population are women, 23 percent gender gap still exists between men and women in political empowerment globally with about 32.5 and 40 percent gender gap in Sub-Saharan and Northern Africa respectively (Global Gender Gap Report, 2017; World Bank, 2017). Among the reasons advanced for the underrepresentation of women in political leadership positions across the world is the extent and nature of media coverage given to women globally. Studies have shown that media subtly foreground features of female politicians’ femininity while subverting their ability the function effectively in leadership positions like their male counterparts (Baxter, 2018; Vu, Lee, Duong & Barnett, 2017; Lünenborg & Maier, 2015). This study, therefore, focuses on the role of the Nigerian media in the perpetuation of gender stereotypes through their representation of women in political leadership positions. Adopting a feminist perspective, this study employs case study research design using a combination of content analysis of media articles from four national newspapers in Nigeria. Also, semi-structured interviews were conducted with media practitioners, politicians and gender advocates in Nigeria to create in-depth understanding of the underlying causes of the underrepresentation of Nigerian women in politics.

Media,Construction,Representation,Political participation,Feminist,Women,Political Leaders,Gender equality
Media Cultures
Poster Session

Bimbo Lolade Fafowora

Ph.D Candidate, Journalism, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
South Africa

I am presently a Ph.D candidate at the Department of Journalism, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. I obtained my Masters' and Bachelors' Degrees in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. I also have a National Diploma (ND) in Mass Communictaion from The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria. My research focus include media, education, gender and culture. In terms of work experience, I was a teacher of English Language in a private nursery and primary school in Nigeria. I also have teaching experience as a Tutorial Assistant at the University level in Nigeria. Aside from this, I have over two years of work experience as a presenter on radio in Nigeria. Presently, I am interested in adding my voice to the global academic discourse especially in my areas of research interest.