Women living in the world’s most advanced democracies and under the most progressive gender equality regimes still know less about politics than men, a 10-nation study claims.
An unmistakable gender gap in political knowledge seems to be a global phenomenon, according to the study of media systems and national political knowledge.
Women know less about politics than men regardless of how advanced a country is in terms of gender equality, said Professor James Curran, Director of the Goldsmiths Leverhulme Media Research Centre at University of London.
The study also discovered that gender gaps in political knowledge tend to be even wider in so called “advanced” economies such as the UK and US than in less advanced economies such as Colombia.
“The fact that throughout the whole world women know less about politics than men and that this is as true for people in Norway as it is in Colombia is really very surprising,” Curran said.
Researchers surveyed men and women’s knowledge of domestic and international news as well as current affairs in Australia, Canada, Colombia, Greece, Italy, Japan, Korea, Norway, the UK and the US.
Exploring the reasons for the gender gap researchers examined both the content of news and the supply of news in all ten nations, The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK said in a statement.
News coverage is heavily weighted toward male sources even in countries such as the UK and Australia where gender equality ratings are relatively high. Overall, women are only interviewed or cited in 30 per cent of TV news stories in the ten nations, researchers said.
In all ten countries, female sources tend only to appear in longer news items or articles and are preferred for soft news topics such as family, lifestyle and culture.
“Such under-representation and topical bias of women in news media may curb women’s motivation to acquire political knowledge actively, and discourage them from political participation, and even prevent women from engaging in citizens in a democratic society,” said co-researcher Professor Kaori Hayashi.