Mass Communication Project Topics

Newspaper Media Coverage of Women Politicians in the 2023 Election

Newspaper Media Coverage of Women Politicians in the 2023 Election

Newspaper Media Coverage of Women Politicians in the 2023 Election


Objectives of the Study

The study had three specific objectives:

  1. To analyze the frequency and prominence of newspaper media coverage of women politicians during the 2023 election.
  2. To identify the predominant themes and frames used in the coverage of women politicians in newspapers during the 2023 election.
  3. To assess the impact of media coverage on the public perception of women politicians and its potential implications for electoral outcomes in the 2023 election.



Conceptual Review

Media Portrayal of Women Politicians

Historical trends in media representation of women in politics serve as a critical lens through which to understand the evolving dynamics of gender portrayal (Adibe, 2021; Funderburk, 2019). Over the years, media depictions of women politicians have undergone substantial transformations, reflecting societal attitudes and political landscapes. Adibe’s (2021) exploration of the role of Nigerian media in nation-building provides insights into how historical media trends may have contributed to shaping prevailing stereotypes and biases against women in politics. This historical context underscores the importance of delving into past portrayals to comprehend the trajectory of media influence on perceptions of female political leaders.

Examining the contemporary role of media in shaping perceptions of women in politics requires an understanding of the influential power media outlets wield in disseminating information and constructing narratives (Chibuike & Fafiolu, 2023). Chibuike and Fafiolu’s (2023) research on promoting good governance in Nigeria highlights the media’s crucial role in shaping political discourse. Investigating how media outlets frame stories and present information about women politicians is imperative for comprehending the intricate ways in which societal perceptions are moulded. The examination of contemporary media dynamics provides a foundation for assessing the ongoing challenges and opportunities faced by women in politics.

The impact of media portrayal on political careers is a pivotal aspect that demands meticulous investigation, as it directly influences electoral outcomes and public image (Arijeniwa & Nwaoboli, 2023; Funderburk, 2019). Funderburk’s (2019) dissertation on the framing of female African-American Olympic athletes highlights the potential consequences of media framing on individual careers. Similarly, in the realm of politics, media portrayal can shape the trajectory of political careers for women, influencing their electability and public perception. Arijeniwa and Nwaoboli’s (2023) study on setting the agenda for public discourse through social media emphasizes the contemporary relevance of understanding how media dynamics, including framing and agenda-setting, impact the political careers of women.

In the context of the 2023 election, marked by a significant increase in the participation of women politicians, understanding the intricate interplay between media portrayal and political dynamics becomes paramount (Arijeniwa & Nwaoboli, 2023; Chibuike & Fafiolu, 2023). The contemporary landscape, influenced by historical trends and evolving media dynamics, necessitates a nuanced analysis. This study aims to contribute to this understanding by exploring how media portrayal influences public perceptions of women in politics, particularly during critical political events like the 2023 election in Nigeria.




Research Design

In this study, a deliberate choice is made to utilize a quantitative survey research design, a decision rooted in the need to systematically amass data about newspaper media coverage of women politicians during the 2023 election. This design is instrumental in its capacity to collect numerical data through the administration of a structured questionnaire. The structured questionnaire acts as a valuable tool, enabling the systematic and standardized collection of information, thereby facilitating an in-depth analysis of emerging trends, patterns, and correlations in media coverage. This methodological approach offers a comprehensive exploration of the subject matter, aligning seamlessly with the overarching objectives of the study (Saunders et al., 2019).

The selection of a quantitative approach is underscored by its compatibility with the study’s fundamental goals — namely, to quantify and analyze the portrayal of women politicians in the media. The structured questionnaire, serving as the primary instrument for data collection, allows for the systematic measurement of variables and ensures the generation of numerical data. This numerical data, when subjected to statistical analysis, yields insights into the prevalent trends and patterns characterizing media coverage during the 2023 election. The utilization of a quantitative survey research design not only enhances the study’s rigour but also provides a solid foundation for drawing meaningful and statistically significant conclusions regarding the representation of women politicians in newspaper media during the specified electoral period (Saunders et al., 2019).



Data Presentation



Summary of Findings

The study delved into the intricate landscape of media coverage of women politicians during the 2023 election, aiming to unravel the nuances that shape public perceptions, attitudes, and stereotypes. The comprehensive analysis, informed by the responses of 104 participants, provides a detailed exploration of various dimensions, from social media discussions to the representation of diversity in traditional media.

In the realm of social media, Table 4.17 stands out as a testament to the platform’s potential in influencing public discourse. An overwhelming 84.6% of respondents indicated that discussions on social media exhibited positive attitudes towards women politicians. This finding is significant, considering the pervasive influence of social media in shaping contemporary narratives. It suggests that these online spaces serve as arenas for fostering positivity and inclusivity, potentially contributing to a more supportive environment for women in politics.

Table 4.18 delves into the influence of media tone and language on public perceptions. A substantial 78.8% of respondents acknowledged the significant impact of media communication in shaping their views on women politicians. This underscores the critical role media plays in framing narratives and influencing public opinion. The power of language in shaping perceptions is evident, highlighting the responsibility of media outlets to adopt a tone that reflects fairness, impartiality, and inclusivity.

Moving to Table 4.19, the study explored the role of media coverage in challenging stereotypes about women in politics. The majority of respondents, 80.8%, recognized the positive contribution of media in breaking down traditional stereotypes. This finding suggests that media portrayal has the potential not only to inform but also to challenge and reshape societal norms. By actively participating in dismantling stereotypes, media outlets can play a pivotal role in fostering a more equitable and progressive political landscape.

The theme of inclusivity is further emphasized in Table 4.20, where 81.7% of respondents indicated that newspaper media adequately represented the diversity of women politicians. This finding is crucial as it underscores the importance of diverse representation in media, not only in terms of gender but also considering factors like ethnicity, age, and political affiliation. Adequate representation in media contributes to a more accurate reflection of the diverse tapestry of women involved in politics, ultimately shaping a more informed and inclusive public discourse.

In a broader context, these findings collectively paint a nuanced picture of the interplay between media and public perceptions. Social media emerges as a powerful force in shaping positive attitudes, while traditional media, through its language and tone, holds sway over public perceptions and contributes to the dismantling of stereotypes. Moreover, the acknowledgement of the media’s role in adequately representing diversity is a positive sign, suggesting a growing awareness of the importance of inclusivity in political discourse.

However, it is essential to note the challenges that persist. Despite the positive indications, there are still respondents who expressed uncertainty or disagreement in these tables. This underscores the need for continued efforts in media literacy and diversity training to bridge the gaps in perception and foster a more informed and inclusive society.

In summary, the study provides valuable insights into the intricate dynamics between media and public perceptions, shedding light on the multifaceted roles of both traditional and social media. As media continues to evolve, understanding these dynamics becomes increasingly crucial for fostering a political landscape that is not only informed but also equitable and inclusive.


In conclusion, the findings of this study offer a nuanced understanding of the intersection between media coverage and public perceptions of women politicians during the 2023 election. The positive attitudes reflected in social media discussions underscore the platform’s potential as a force for inclusivity and support in political discourse. Additionally, the recognition of media’s influence on public perceptions, its role in breaking stereotypes, and its ability to adequately represent diversity in politics highlight the multifaceted impact of traditional media.

While the majority of respondents expressed positive sentiments, the study also reveals areas of uncertainty and disagreement, emphasizing the need for ongoing efforts to address gaps in perception. Media outlets play a crucial role in shaping public narratives, and the study suggests that adopting a fair, inclusive, and unbiased tone can significantly contribute to fostering positive attitudes towards women politicians.

As society navigates the evolving landscape of media, these findings underscore the importance of media literacy, diversity training, and responsible journalism. The study contributes to the ongoing discourse on gender representation in politics, providing valuable insights that can inform strategies for promoting inclusivity and challenging stereotypes in media coverage.


Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendations were proposed:

  1. Media Training Programs: Implement media training programs for journalists and media professionals to enhance their awareness of gender biases and stereotypes. These programs should emphasize fair and unbiased reporting on women politicians, fostering a more inclusive and balanced representation in media coverage.
  2. Diversity and Inclusion Policies: Media organizations should establish and enforce diversity and inclusion policies that actively promote coverage reflecting the diverse backgrounds, ages, ethnicities, and political affiliations of women politicians. This can contribute to a more accurate and representative portrayal in the media.
  3. Public Awareness Campaigns: Launch public awareness campaigns to educate the general public on the potential biases present in media coverage. These campaigns should encourage critical thinking and media literacy, empowering the audience to discern and question the narratives presented in the media.
  4. Collaboration with Civil Society Organizations: Foster collaborations between media outlets and civil society organizations focused on gender equality. Joint initiatives can include workshops, seminars, and campaigns aimed at challenging stereotypes and promoting a more positive and empowering portrayal of women in politics.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation Systems: Develop robust monitoring and evaluation systems within media organizations to regularly assess and address gender biases in their reporting. Periodic assessments can help track progress and identify areas that require additional attention or improvement.
  6. Ethical Guidelines for Reporting: Establish and adhere to ethical guidelines specifically addressing the coverage of women politicians. Emphasize the importance of fair, balanced, and unbiased reporting, encouraging journalists to avoid reinforcing stereotypes and to present a comprehensive view of women’s contributions to politics.
  7. Media Platforms for Women’s Voices: Create dedicated media platforms or segments that specifically showcase women’s perspectives on political issues. This can provide a space for women politicians to communicate their agendas directly to the public and counteract potential biases in mainstream coverage.
  8. Educational Initiatives: Incorporate lessons on media literacy, gender equality, and diversity into educational curricula at various levels. By fostering an understanding of these issues early on, future generations can develop critical thinking skills and contribute to a more inclusive media landscape.

Contribution to Knowledge

This study significantly contributes to the existing knowledge base by shedding light on the intricate dynamics of media coverage of women politicians during the 2023 election in Nigeria. The findings provide valuable insights into the prevalent patterns and nuances in the portrayal of women in political spheres, advancing our understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with gender representation in media.

Firstly, the study adds depth to the discourse on gender and media by offering empirical evidence on the perceptions of media consumers regarding the visibility and representation of women politicians. The nuanced analysis of respondents’ attitudes towards media coverage, as revealed in Tables 4.9 to 4.20, contributes to a more comprehensive understanding of the impact of media narratives on public perceptions of women in politics.

Secondly, the study contributes to the literature on media influence on public opinion and political decision-making. The findings in Tables 4.13 to 4.16 highlight the significant role media portrayal plays in shaping individuals’ perceptions of women politicians and influencing their voting decisions. This nuanced exploration of the relationship between media content and public attitudes enriches the understanding of the complex interplay between media narratives and political behaviour.

Moreover, the study advances discussions on the role of media in challenging or perpetuating stereotypes. Tables 4.19 and 4.20 reveal respondents’ perspectives on whether media coverage contributed to breaking stereotypes and adequately represented the diversity of women politicians. This insight into the potential impact of media content on societal norms and perceptions is crucial for devising strategies to combat gender biases in political discourse.


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