Exclusion, Misrepresentation and Discrimination: Still Prevalent for Women in American Media and Politics
Effects of Media Exclusion and Representation on Female Politicians
When serious news does not include women and women are not involved in professional reporting and advising roles, it sends a message to viewers that men are the only ones qualified to be involved in or have opinions on significant and serious issues. This discourages women from becoming involved in politics, both because they fear that they will not be able to get support from voters and because they feel on some level that they are less qualified than male candidates. With a media climate like this, it’s little wonder women account for only 17% of members of Congress despite the fact that they represent over 50% of the U.S. population (U.S. Census Bureau).
A 2008 research study showed that even though women are seen as equals on specific areas of interest, 20% of people surveyed still believed that men were inherently better leaders simply because of their sex (Barrett). As the most wide-ranging tool for forming public opinion, media’s exclusionary and discriminatory portrayals of women can be given a large part of the blame for women’s continued inability to be successful in the political realm. Women have made great strides towards equality over the years, but it will surely be impossible to truly achieve it until the media steps up and takes responsibility for the role it plays in defining public opinion of women.
Barrett, Barbara. "Women are Prominent on Tar Heel Ballots, from Local Contests to Races for Governor, U.S. Senator." Raleigh News and Observer 26 Oct. 2008: 1A.
“USA Quickfacts.” United States Census Bureau 23 February 2009. 17 Apr. 2009 http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html
"Women Scarcer On CBS Evening News." Broadcasting & Cable 23 Oct. 2006. 17 Apr. 2009 http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/106279- Women_Scarcer_On_CBS_Evening_News.php
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