19 Mar 2018

Study finds Facebook less gender equal than traditional media

A recent media study found that women are even more objectified on social media than in print media. Furthermore, on Facebook men are featured as experts much more often than women.

Christine Tragler
Christine Tragler Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Study finds Facebook
 less gender equal than traditional media - NewsMavens
Facebook. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

Like every year, the Austrian think-tank Media Affairs published its annual study on the social media presence of women in Austrian media throughout 2017. This time, their research also included an analysis of gender roles on Facebook.

Their study found that articles about women's issues are only read if they have catchy titles.

Gender politics remains a marginalized topic in mainstream media.

In traditional media, men are 70 per cent more likely to appear in images.

And on Facebook? There is not a single woman among the 50 most influential personal fanpages. Evidently, the battle for equality in media will have to tackle social media platforms as well, otherwise Facebook could become a refuge for patriarchal depictions of women.

women's issues, gender, media

The main findings of the study "Women - Politics - Media":

  • Issues that affect the vast majority of women and improve their everyday life are often overlooked.
  • Topics such as burqa bans dominated the coverage of gender politics in 2017.
  • The study found that female participation in politics ranked second among the most popular gender topics.
  • Sexual harassment, despite an ongoing international debate over several months, was only in third place, and violence against women came in eighth place.
  • Reports about  women's opinions or earnings ranked in the bottom third and were even less popular in 2017 than before.  
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