POLITICS

General Election 2017 Media Analysis Shows Coverage Was Dominated By Men

Even though our prime minister is a woman...

12/06/2017 08:25 BST | Updated 12/06/2017 15:10 BST

Media coverage of the General Election was dominated by men, a new analysis has found.

Although one of the main parties was led by a woman, research by Loughborough University first seen by HuffPost UK found that in total almost 63% of those who appeared in the news were male and just 37% female.

Among politicians specifically, the gender split was 60-40 in favour of men when it came to print media.

Loughborough University
The different types of people who appeared in the news in the run-up to the election (red is male, blue is female)

But the analysis also revealed a consistent skew towards men appearing in the news in a variety of roles related to the election, including experts, public sector spokespeople and business sources.

Indeed two areas were entirely dominated by men - i.e. there was no female representation - according to the research: royalty and pollsters. 

In a ranking of most prominent politicians in coverage of the General Election campaign, Theresa May came out on top with 30.1%, ahead of Jeremy Corbyn on 26.7%. 

Loughborough University
Men also dominated in a ranking of the most prominent politicians

However, the next woman, in fourth place, was Nicola Sturgeon with just 3.7%.

Last week’s General Election actually saw a record number of female MPs elected to Parliament, with 208 women taking seats in the House Of Commons. This is compared to 442 male MPs.

DANIEL SORABJI via Getty Images
The analysis showed general election coverage was dominated by men despite the fact that the prime minster herself is a woman

Frances Scott, from the 50:50 Parliament campaign, which is pushing for a gender representative Parliament, told HuffPost UK: “Clearly the main stream press are letting women down. They should be working harder to amplify women’s voices given the lack of women in Parliament and it shouldn’t just be the high ranking front benchers that get the lime light, there were many great women standing for election who the press could seek out for comment. But of course most of the lobby journalists are men.

“Still, women are great at social media and that that is how the young get their news. I expect that is what made the difference in this election. Especially for women like Rosie Duffield MP. She was inspired to stand by the 50:50 Parliament campaign and then galvanized the youthful electorate in her constituency, eventually succeeding in toppling the long term incumbent MP in Canterbury. It is social media that will help women communicate if the main stream media is letting them down. “

Loughborough University’s media audit also found that no party achieved more positive than negative coverage during the seven-week campaign, with the most partisan papers fixated on criticising the parties they opposed rather than highlighting those they supported.

“In short, the campaign was more about attack than advocacy,” its report said.

Loughborough University analysed:

Television: Channel 4 News (7pm), Channel 5 News (6.30pm), BBC1 News at 10, ITV1 News at 10, Sky News 8-8.30pm.

Press: The Guardian, The I, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Financial Times, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, The Star.