Module Catalogue 2019/20

POL3109 : Gender, Campaigns and Media

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Maarja Luhiste
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
POL2081Research Methods in Politics
Pre Requisite Comment

POL2081, or an equivalent is recommended as a pre-requisite

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The module aims to outline the role of gender in political communication. In particular, the aims in this module are to enable students: to gain an understanding of the concepts of gender and political communication from a theoretical and a methodological perspective; to examine the extent to which gender moderates candidate side campaign communication as well as to explore gendered media portrayals of women candidates and political leaders; and to consider the consequences of gendered media coverage and campaign communications both on political elites and on women’s mass political engagement. Additionally, the course aims to demonstrate the variety of methodological approaches used in the scholarship examining women and political communication.

Outline Of Syllabus

Political institutions, such as electoral rules and political parties, are traditionally blamed for women’s continuing underrepresentation in politics. While significant changes have been made to increase the number of women in parliaments and governments, electoral rules alone will not eliminate the yet significant gender gap in political representation. How politicians communicate with the electorate and how they are represented in the media matter, too. As such, the aim of this module is to examine the role of gender in political communication by covering the following topics:

Gender and political communication:
•       Sex and gender: understanding the concepts.
•       Political communication: what it stands for?
•       Linking gender and political communication: women’s representation in campaigns, media, and politics.

Candidates’ communication with the electorate along the campaign trail:
•       Gender and campaigning: strategies, issues, and agenda setting.
•       Gender and traditional campaigning techniques.
•       Women candidates and new technologies (candidate websites and social media presence).
Campaign coverage in the media:
•       Understanding media and media effects: agenda setting, framing, priming, and issue salience/ownership.
•       Measuring media effects: approaches and methods used in political communication research.
•       Women in the news and in televised debates.
•       Similarities and differences in women and men’s political media consumption and in the way they react to political messages and gendered coverage.

Changing images of women in power:
•       Building the symbolic and substantive link: women representatives’ communication with their constituents.
•       Media portrayals of women representatives at the regional, national, and European level.
•       Women as world leaders: media coverage of women presidents and prime ministers across the globe.
•       The non-elected women leaders in the media: media coverage and treatment of first ladies.
Consequences of gendered media coverage and campaign communications:
•       Electoral consequences of women’s campaigns and news media coverage.
•       Gendered media coverage and women’s mass political participation and engagement.
•       How to bring forth change in women’s media coverage?
The course will address these topics by drawing on examples from the UK, the U.S., and continental Europe.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

The intended knowledge outcomes are: a good understanding of debates about gender, campaign communication and media effects; a detailed knowledge of the various explanations for women’s misrepresentation in the media and proposals to challenge gendered media coverage; a good grasp the key theoretical frameworks and empirical approaches to evaluate the above debates.

Intended Skill Outcomes

The core intended skills outcomes for students are to develop the ability: to write clearly and analytically, making use of the relevant material; to express, justify and defend orally and in writing a personal opinion about political issues; to assess the methods and approaches (both qualitative and quantitative) used in gender and political communication research; and to interpret empirical (qualitative and quantitative) research findings.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture211:0021:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1164:00164:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are crucial to provide students with an introduction to key ideas, actors, and events. Lectures make extensive use of power point slides to help re-enforce students’ understanding. The lecturers own expertise and research into these topics provides engaging examples and contributes towards the goal of research informed teaching. Seminars will allow students to follow up these ideas and issues by asking questions and debating amongst themselves. It provides the context for students to articulate their knowledge and understanding and to help them prepare for written assessment.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50Essay style examination
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A mix of assessment methods will be used to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their overall understanding of the core concepts and debates surrounding the study of gender and political communication. A written unseen examination will assess students’ ability to elaborate on specific issues of gender, campaign communications, and media in a knowledgeable, well-argued and coherent manner. The 2,000 word essay will assess students’ ability to synthesise the theoretical and empirical material acquired from lectures, seminars, and independent research. It will also offer students the opportunity to investigate in greater depth a particular aspect of the politics of gender.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2019/20 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.