(ORDO NEWS) — Women in politics are not uncommon for a long time, but social stereotypes are truly indestructible.
After analyzing ten million comments on the Reddit platform, Danish researchers found that ordinary people are equally interested in politicians of both sexes, but women are treated with prejudice.
Although every year more women choose to pursue a career in politics, they are still a minority compared to men, and gender bias plays a significant role in this.
“A woman cannot rule the state”, “a woman is emotional and irrational”, “a woman’s place is in the kitchen, and let men lead the country” – all these beliefs strongly influence not only the attitude of other politicians, but also the mood of ordinary people.
Previously, studies of such prejudice were mainly focused on direct conversations with politicians: for example, researchers noted if during an interview a journalist made unacceptable statements in relation to his interlocutor. But no one has tried to analyze what ordinary people say about women and men in politics.
Fortunately, in the era of the development of the Internet, collecting data from public conversations is not the most difficult task, after which it remains only to analyze the millions of comments left.
The researchers analyzed more than ten million comments from public conversations on the Reddit platform.
They paid attention not only to overtly sexist statements about women politicians, but also to more subtle biases against them: for example, benevolent sexism, in which a positive statement is given a sexist connotation ( “she does a good job for a woman!” or “it’s amazing to find such composure not the man’s).
The results showed approximately equal user interest in both male and female politicians: the names of both sexes appeared equally often in discussions, although male politicians received much more attention in the media.
However, the nature of interest differed in the case of men and women: for example, women were more often referred to by their first names rather than their last names (which indicates familiarity in their relation), they were often talked about their appearance, clothing or marital status, while male politicians were mostly called by their last names and judged only on their professional activities, without slipping into their personal lives.
Thus, although women and men in the political arena equally attract the attention of ordinary people, women are treated less respectfully and professionally.
It looks like there is still a lot of work to be done to break down the outdated stereotypes about the incapacity of women for political activity, so that ordinary people finally look away from hair color or lipstick and pay attention only to what a woman says and does.
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