A recent study concludes that the news coverage of female politicians focuses more on character traits and less on their policy arguments in comparison to their male counterparts.
The study from a special mini symposium in Political Research Quarterly (a SAGE Journal) finds female politicians are not given the same treatment as males in the media.
The authors of the study, Johanna Dunaway, Regina G. Lawrence, Melody Rose, and Christopher R. Weber stated, "There is a clear variation across political races in terms of the focus of news stories".
Dunaway et. al collected data from approximately 10,000 newspaper articles covering statewide elections (Senate and gubernatorial races) in the 2006 and 2008 elections across the US. They found that for male-only election coverage, the stories focused on character traits 6 percent of the time and the issues 55.5 percent of the time, for male-female races.
While the articles focused on traits 10.8 percent of the time and the issues 53.1 percent of the time, and for female-only elections. The stories focused on character traits 9.4 percent of the time and on the issues 51.7 percent of the time.