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POL3109 : Gender, Campaigns and Media

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • 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


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.

Teaching Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Assessment Methods

Module leaders are revising this content in light of the Covid 19 restrictions.
Revised and approved detail information will be available by 17 August.

Reading Lists