Gender Representation in Media: the image of woman in Portuguese press
The implementation of equal opportunities between men and women has always been hindered by gender stereotypes that consolidate and sometimes increase the inequality between men and woman in vital aspects of life and which are still being transmitted by the main socialization agents like family, school and mediated communication. This research project is focused on media communication, and aims to detect gender stereotypes in newspapers, in order to reflect on these issues and to develop a new vision that communication professionals need to take into account when producing their articles, news, movies, television, radio or internet programs, publicity, etc.
I want to detect the gender stereotypes in the Portuguese general press, by selecting the three largest reference journals, in order to compare them on a number of categories (the sex of the journalist, the content of news items, the actors in the news items, the differences in different newspaper sections, etc.) These categories enable comparing the newspapers and allow determining trends in each of the newspapers, but will also allow discussing the situation of the Portuguese general press. Apart from describing the gender representations in the press, my aim is also to explain the this gendered nature of these representations and the differences this brings along.
Originally, the press was dominated by male professionals. Since the end of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth century, women started to occupy a minority position. Nowadays, the number of female journalists is approximating the number of male journalists, and it is expected to grow further. In Portugal, female journalists now represent 37,2% (Sindicato de Jornalistas, 2000). This percentage may increase in the near future, as the presence of women in the communication department of the universities is increasing.
The question then becomes: If we have almost an equal number of male and female media professionals, why do both groups prefer to produce more news about men? Why are women not considered as an informative source? Why does it still happen that power and rationality are still considered male characteristics? With this project I want to give an answer to this representational imbalance and to contribute to changing the journalistic minds and practices.