Gender and media representation: politics and the 'double bind'

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In recent decades, more women have been elected into office, showing the gains which have been made as more take a seat at the political table. In 2008, women occupied 18.3% of parliamentary seats worldwide, growing to 24.3% in 2019 (IPU 2019). While some affix a positive slant to this upward-moving trajectory, others see this slow tread onwards as overwhelmingly unsatisfactory. According to the World Economic Forum, if the same rate of change were to continue as it has done, the global gender gap in politics would take 107 years to close (World Economic Forum, 2018). Women’s low numbers in parliaments across the world highlight that, as a category, they are still an underrepresented group, showing this to be a globally systemic issue. In terms of representative democracies, these low figures are significant, as they arguably have implications for both the descriptive and substantive representation of women (Celis and Childs 2008) and also send important signals about who is elected to stand for the “public” in positions of power and included/excluded in political decision-making. This chapter focuses on the gendered mediation – the gendered discursive practices embedded in social norms (Gidengil and Everitt, 2003) – of female politicians and how this may perpetuate entrenched attitudes around gender norms, thus contributing to women’s mis- and under representation in global politics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender Equality in Changing Times
Subtitle of host publicationMultidisciplinary Reflections on Struggles and Progress
EditorsAngela Smith
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9783030265694
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • gender
  • politics
  • female politicians
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Theresa May
  • double bind


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