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Gender, Candidate Portrayals and Election Campaigns: A Comparative Perspective

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 September 2008

Miki Caul Kittilson
Arizona State University
Kim Fridkin
Arizona State University


In the United States, research suggests that men and women candidates are covered differently by the press. However, few studies compare press coverage of candidates cross-nationally. Systematic comparison of newspaper coverage of male and female candidates during election campaigns in Australia, Canada, and the United States may help illuminate the conditions that exacerbate or dampen gender differences in candidate portrayals. Given the sharp focus on candidates in American campaigns and the relatively lower percentage of women in the Congress, we expect to find the greatest disparities in men's and women's press coverage in the United States. Our findings suggest that across these three democracies, candidates are often portrayed in terms of long-standing gender stereotypes. These gender differences have important implications for voters' perceptions of candidates and may shape widely shared attitudes toward women's role in the political arena.

Research Article
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2008

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