Where Voters Saw Most Sexist Treatment of Women Candidates in Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — There is agreement among voters that social media followed by cable news and broadcast news are the top places that they see the most sexist treatment of women candidates and elected officials, according to research conducted during the final days of the U.S. presidential election.
Twenty-seven percent of voters said that they see the most sexism toward women candidates and elected officials in social media, compared to 16 percent for cable television news and 12 percent for broadcast television news. Talk radio, magazines, blogs, friends and family, and newspapers were cited less frequently, according to the survey, which was commissioned by Name It. Change It., a joint non-partisan media-monitoring and accountability project of the Women’s Media Center and She Should Run. The NICI project studies and documents sexist media coverage of women candidates and public leaders. Voters were asked to choose the source that has the most sexist treatment of female political figures in the recent election.
“This research shows an awareness of media sexism toward women candidates and elected officials and affirms the power of the media in shaping opinions, influencing perceptions, and fostering stereotypes,” said Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center. “The fact that 87 percent of voters could report seeing sexist media coverage of women candidates underscores both the problem and the need for media accountability for this kind of content—especially on social media, which had substantially more reports of sexism than other media platforms. Women swim in a sea of media sexism every day, and the impact on our culture and on the roles for women in society is bad for women and bad for democracy.”
“It’s very telling that when voters were asked to choose a political source that tends to have the most sexist treatment of women candidates and elected officials, only 13 percent couldn’t choose a source,” said Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. “It shows that voters were aware and acknowledge that they’re seeing sexist content about female politicians on their screens, across the airwaves, and in print.”
Ninety-two percent of millennial voters offered their opinion on the most sexist media coverage of women candidates.
“We’ve told millions of young women and girls that anything is possible. And many believe it to be true. But when 92 percent of millennial voters can report seeing sexist treatment of women candidates, it raises the question: How does this affect the aspirations of girls who one day wish to run for office?” said Erin Loos Cutraro, co-founder and CEO of She Should Run.
Voters’ Views of Sexist Treatment of Women Candidates by Media by Age, Race, Political Affiliation:
The research illustrated the variances in how voters see sexist treatment of women candidates in media by age, race, and political affiliation.
Thirty-nine percent of voters under the age of 35 said social media tended to have the most sexist treatment of women, with significantly smaller percentages saying cable television news and broadcast news.
Latino and African American voters were more likely to say that sexist treatment was more rampant on social media than other sources. Thirty-two percent of Latinos cited social media as the most sexist while 31 percent of African Americans did so. This was especially true for African American and Latino men, at 37 percent and 40 percent, respectively. More than a quarter, 26 percent, of white voters, white men, and white women said social media is the most sexist.
Lake Research Partners and The Tarrance Group designed the pre-election and election night omnibus survey, which was conducted November 6 – 8, 2016 by telephone-using professional interviewers. The survey has a margin of error among likely voters overall of +/-2.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence interval. The margin of error is higher among subgroups.
The links below showcase additional NICI research: