Women in roles as political leaders vary in the United States and around the world. In these activities, you will examine how women political leaders are represented in the media, both here and abroad and develop social media campaigns to raise awareness of and celebrate the achievements of women leaders.
In early 2021, the website Insider presented a list of the Most Famous Female Politician from Every State. Some were nationally known figures like Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi from California or former presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton who was born in Illinois. Others were historical figures, such as Jeannette Rankin from Montana who was the first woman elected to Congress, or modern-day trailblazers, including Sarah McBride, Delaware's first openly transgender state senator, and Kristi Noem, South Dakota's first woman governor.
Media coverage of women in political roles can vary greatly. Some women are in the news all the time; others are hardly ever mentioned. Those who appear regularly are often presented differently depending on the political lean of different media outlets. Social scientists have shown that the media cover women and men political leaders differently. Stories about women in politics more often mention their appearance, clothing, family, and instances of combative behavior, all in line with traditional gender stereotypes. Such gender bias hinders women and helps male leaders politically.
Thinking about your own media experience...have you seen women represented in leadership positions (e.g., Mulan and Elsa from Disney; World leaders such as Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern; Individuals thrust into the spotlight such as Greta Thunberg, Emma Watson, Meghan Markle)? Do you think it is important for women to be represented in leadership roles in the media?
Activity 1: Examine the Representation of Women Political Leaders in the Media
Identify a female political leader from the United States. Here are some recent current or historical examples:
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Amy Coney Barrett
Ketanji Brown Jackson
Curate a digital collection of media content, including videos, news articles, blog posts, and social media tweets, about the individual you selected on a Wakelet, Padlet, or slide deck.
Activity 2: Evaluate the Media Portrayal of Women Leaders in Different Countries and Careers
Evaluate the differences in media representation of women political leaders from the United States and women leaders in other countries and/or other fields (see Forbes Magazine "The World's Most Powerful Women").
Are women political leaders in the United States portrayed differently than women political leaders in other countries?
Are women political leaders discussed differently than women leaders in other fields like business and science?
Create a social media campaign to illuminate the differences in media portrayals of women leaders from different fields/countries.
The social media campaign should include at least 2 videos (e.g., YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok), 5 example posts, and 3 images (e.g., memes, graphics, infographics) designed by you.