Media representation of South Africas female politicians : the case of the Mail & Guardian À“ 2010 to 2011

Date: July 21, 2014
  • SHARE:

This study is a feminist investigation of the reporting on the female politicians in the Mail & Guardian using the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development media requirements on content as the yardstick. The Protocol is a regional policy adopted in 2008 by regional governments aimed at achieving gender equity in key sectors by 2015. The Protocol is a regional instrument set up to assist in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The study investigated whether the Protocol’s media requirements were being observed by the Mail&Guardian. The media’s role of providing information can assist the MDGs to be met. These requirements encourage the media in the region to reach gender parity in the use of news sources and writing of news reports that help to reduce gender-based violence and the portrayal of women that is not stereotypic and oppressive. The themes of the study, which were “gender-based violence”, “gender oppression” and “stereotypes against women” were influenced by these requirements. Gender-based violence is a major impediment to development in Africa because of the heavy financial burden it puts on governments and communities to treat victims and offer them shelter and counselling. Gender-based violence affects women’s full productivity in society because it results in death or victims remaining absent from work while they seek treatment. Stereotypes and gender oppression are viewed as dangerous because not only do they deny younger generations role models but they perpetuate the insubordination of women in society. The study linked the themes to female parliamentarians because being legislators and policy makers, they have a strategic and critical role to play in helping to achieve gender equity. There is a perception that female politicians offer different perspectives to issues. The media can be a vehicle through which these female politicians can express their opinions. This is because the media is supposed to offer freedom of expression to all its citizens regardless of gender. In order to examine if the female ideology had a place in the Mail & Guardian a feminist theoretical approach was used. The study employed a triangulation approach in which both the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies were used. The quantitative method was employed to a small extent to quantify the coverage of female politicians. Triangulation in data collection entailed using both the content analysis and in-depth interviews. Findings of the study showed a violation of the Protocol’s media requirements. News reporting about female politicians centred on scandals and controversies and journalists and editors were ignorant of the Protocol’s media requirements.

Publisher: Stellenbosch University
Year of Publication: 2014

Comment on Media representation of South Africas female politicians : the case of the Mail & Guardian À“ 2010 to 2011

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *