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Comparing Gender and Media Equality across the Globe

A cross-national study of the qualities, causes and consequences of gender equality in and through the news media

The aim of the project is to examine the qualities, causes and consequences of gender equality in and through the news media by employing a cross-national, comparative methodology. The project applies a multidimensional approach to the meaning of gender equality in relation to the media, examining equality in news media content, news media organizations and news media access and use. It also involves systematic, empirical analyses of both the causes and consequences of media and gender equality in different countries across the globe. The project addresses three key questions:

  • QUALITIES. How has gender equality in news media content, media organizations and media access and use developed over time and across different countries and how are the different aspects related?
  • CAUSES. To what extent can differences in gender equality in the media be explained as a result of variations in economic, political, social, and cultural factors in society, as well as factors pertaining to differences in media systems?
  • CONSEQUENCES. To what degree is gender equality in the media related to other aspects of a Good Society, such as democracy, media freedom, economic and social development and good government, the latter particularly with regard to freedom from corruption?

The advancement of gender research in recent years has created entirely new opportunities for innovative research in the field. At present, there is a noticeable amount of descriptive data available for the study of gender equality in media content and media organizations, both across countries and over time. However, the actual analyses of the existing data have so far mainly been descriptive and the statistical methods employed are restricted to basic statistics such as frequency distributions and cross tabulations, mostly at the level of single countries or regions. Multivariate quantitative methods that facilitate for proper causal analyses have so far been missing from the research agenda. The present project aims at taking systematic, comparative research on gender equality in and through the news media to the next level:

  • First by bringing together, complementing, and reanalyzing existing data on media/gender equality - in media content, in media organizations, and with regard to media access and use.
  • Second by combining the data sets on gender equality with existing sources of empirical data on the essential structural and cultural factors in society and in the media system, which can explain the differences in media/gender equality between countries.
  • Third by employing advanced quantitative methods for analyzing data and testing statistical relationships. The new methodological approach will provide a unique possibility to provide new insights into how various factors contribute to increasing equality, which factors are necessary and/or sufficient, as well as understanding the societal consequences of the lack of gender equality in the media. The basis for comparison is data collected at the national level.

The project is conducted by a Swedish research team in collaboration with four international partners: Professor Carolyn Byerly (Department of Communication, Culture & Media Studies, School of Communications, Howard University), Professor Karen Ross (Professor of Media, Faculty of Arts, Design and Social Sciences, Northumbria University, UK), Professor Claudia Padovani (the Department of Politics, Law and International Studies DSPGI, University of Padova), and Ph.D. Sarah Macharia (Manager, Gender & Communication, World Association for Christian Communication, WACC, Toronto, Canada & London, U.K.). The project is funded by the Swedish Research Council 2015-2020.

Monika Djerf Pierre, Professor, Project leader
Maria Edström, Docent
Mathias A. Färdigh, PhD


Pre-conference at IAMCR 2019

The research project is organising a pre-conference at IAMCR Madrid on July 6th 2019: The future of media monitoring: Comparing Gender and Media Equality Across the Globe. The event is sponsored by the Global Media Monitoring Project network and Nordicom.

Read the full programme here.

IAMCR logotypeThe International Association for Media and Communication Research - IAMCR - is the preeminent worldwide professional organisation in the field of media and communication research.


Aug 17, 2016: Swedish database opens up for global studies on gender equality in media

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 3/11/2019

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