Gender and Politics
Research Methods & Research Design
Much work has been done to analyze the consequences of the increasing representation of women in politics. Usually, this research compares male and female politicians from a female perspective. For instance, many studies in political communication investigate how and why female candidates show campaign styles similar to or different from their male colleagues. In contrast to this, few studies are interested in how men change their behavior when women enter the political arena. Some of these studies have demonstrated that men limit their negativity when confronted with female candidates. Unfortunately, these analyses focus predominantly on (a) the United States and (b) gender differences in campaign advertising. We seek to provide empirical evidence for non-U.S. campaigns from the most important single campaign events: televised debates. To do so, we analyze data covering all German televised debates broadcast since 1997 where male politicians participated in a two-candidate single- or mixed-gender debate. Our results indicate that the gender of the political opponent affects incivility but not the use of attacks in general. In mixed-gender debates there is less incivility. However, differences in the treatment of male and female opponents tend to decline over time. We conclude that female candidates transform campaign communication—not only because they communicate differently from men, but also because they influence male politicians’ political communication
Drawing on literature about the different television coverage of male and female politicians and gender-specific leadership behavior, differences in the visibility of female and male politicians’ emotions on television can be assumed. These assumptions are particularly relevant when considering studies on the effects of politician’s emotional displays on voters’ assessments. In order to examine the prevalence of female and male politicians’ emotions, we conducted a visual media content analysis of about 1,000 video sequences based on a sample of 66 news broadcasts. Since this comprehensive sample includes video sequences of German politicians holding various positions within the political system, it enables us to draw generalizable conclusions on the televised emotionality of leading politicians. We find that female politicians’ emotions can be seen more frequently on television than male politicians’ emotions. Moreover, female politicians’ positive emotions are shown more frequently than those of male politicians.