On their best behaviour? Newspaper journalists' coverage of women municipal candidates in Alberta

Angelia Wagner


Do women in municipal politics encounter the same level of media bias as women in national politics? Does every type of newspapers exhibit a bias against women municipal politicians, if at all? These questions guided a study of how three daily and three community newspapers portrayed women council candidates during the 2007 Alberta municipal elections. Using content and discourse analysis, the study compared how journalists reported on female and male candidates’ personal traits such as age, appearance, family situation, gender, and emotions as well as their policy ideas and public utterances. Results from the study indicate that while local women politicians do face a subtle sexism, the media environment they encounter while campaigning is generally more gender-neutral and hospitable to them than the one awaiting women vying for elite national office. Thus, women contemplating a bid for council should not be concerned that local journalists will obsess about their looks or otherwise overtly disadvantage them before prospective voters.


women candidates; newspapers; Alberta; municipal politics

Full Text:


@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125