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Mixed-gender campaigning communication: Comparing Portugal and Slovakia

Rita Figueiras
Barbora Petrova
Masaryk University
Open Panel

Abstract

This research aims to identify how the gender is communicated in a mixed-gender general election campaign and how did the media gender-framed candidates in the first mixed-gender general elections. For this purpose authors will analyze the cases of the Portugal general elections campaign of 2009 and the Slovak general election campaign of 2010, in which the female candidates, both from right wing parties, lost in favor of the incumbent male PMs. Thus, the authors will provide a comparison of the Southern Europe with Central Europe with the purpose to compare results from both regions with international findings. It order to answer the questions on the gender communication and media frames in the mixed-gender general election campaign a quantitative content analyses of the candidates’ websites, their television interviews and press coverage will be applied. When analyzing the candidate’s strategies the authors will look at campaign themes, positive vs negative campaigning, image and references to the candidates’ private life. When analyzing the media coverage of each candidate the paper will be dealing with framing, tone, candidates’ features, references to candidates public or private life, appearance, viability. The authors will argue that gender was not a central topic during any of the campaigns. However, the media portrayal of the female candidates was gender-framed. The Portugal female candidate avoided explicit correspondence with female features, while her competitor incorporated female stereotypical characteristics on his campaign and a more gender equality agenda. On the other hand, the Slovak female candidate run as moderate, positive and compromise-seeking politician, while her rival played well his strong leadership abilities and used heavily negative campaigning.