Not Seen, Not Heard: Gender Representation on Canadian Television News during the Leadup to the 2011 Federal Election

By Marsha Barber and Julia Levitan.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The findings suggest that a significant majority of clips came from men. On average, women account for less than one fifth of the interview clips. Women are sometimes used as non-experts, and interviewed when an opinion is solicited from an “average” person on the street. However, when expert opinion is sought, women are interviewed less often than men. In addition, when partisan opinion is solicited, women are rarely consulted. Interestingly, there is no correlation between whether the reporter is male or female. Female reporters are as likely to interview male experts, as male reporters are to use male interview subjects. This dearth of women on the air is important. Those given air time during events such as elections have the opportunity to influence national discourse. In addition, the priorities and observations of those interviewed have the potential to influence political campaigns. Traditional women’s issues, such as childcare, may be seen to carry less weight with the population at large if few women are given a forum where they might express their opinions. This paper presents the research findings and explores the implications for journalism school students and the public at large.

Keywords: Gender, Elections, Media, Journalism, Journalism Education

International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp.1-8. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 234.132KB).

Prof. Marsha Barber

Teaching Chair & Professor, School of Journalism, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Marsha Barber is Professor in the School of Journalism, and Teaching Chair for the Faculty of Communication and Design, at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Professor Barber has published in the areas of pedagogy, media bias, gender studies, and communication theory. Her research interests include assessment of effective teaching and training, and analysis of televised electoral coverage. In addition to her research and scholarly work, Professor Barber conducts training for journalists and others, in Canada and internationally, and can be reached through her web site:

Julia Levitan

Julia Levitan is a student in Honours Psychology at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada