Module Catalogue 2022/23

POL3109 : Gender, Campaigns and Media

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Maarja Luhiste
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
POL2017Becoming a Political Researcher
Pre Requisite Comment

POL2017, or an equivalent research methods module

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
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials111:0011:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture111:0011:00PIP Lectures
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities101:0010:00Guided questions/tasks based on empirical research design and findings in a key reading in wks 2-11
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1152:00152:00Assessment preparation and completion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk51:005:00Online Student Consultation and Feedback
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures introduce students to the key terms, concepts, and texts in the gender and political communication research. They also cover a diversity of approaches and methods (quantitative and qualitative) used in political communication and in gender and politics literature. Seminars provide a live, face-to-face environment in which students can discuss the key readings and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the empirical research presented in these readings each week. The feedback hour gives students the chance to drop in and ask module-related questions of the ML, who may also use the time to expand on recorded lectures and clarify key themes. Structured, guided learning activities include guided questions/tasks where students are asked to explain figures and tables presented in empirical research papers. These tasks will improve students’ passive empirical research skills as well as encourage them to develop critical understanding and evaluation of simple statistics.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise1M25Project proposal 1000 words
Written exercise1M75Empirical project - 2500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

This is a module that covers primarily empirical research on gender and political communication, with considerable emphasis placed on introducing and understanding various approaches and methods used in scholarship examining political communication and women’s representation. To map the assessment to the module aims and learning outcomes, project proposal (25%) and an empirical project (75%) focusing on an aspect of campaign practice or media coverage of a specific politician of student’s choice will be used to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate both their overall understanding of the core concepts and debates surrounding the study of gender and political communication as well as their ability to examine an empirical case with their chosen approach and method.. The project will also 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 2022/23 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 2023/24 entry will be published here in early-April 2023. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.