Over the years female politicians in Uganda have become more successful in their struggle to occupy higher public offices and cabinet positions. Despite these advances, there are still major structural, societal and institutional barriers for women in their pursuit for political power. For female candidates, gendered media coverage remains a major factor in campaigns and elections. Historically the media has notoriously treated women differently and yet it is one of the most influential sources of information for the public. Much as there has been a major
shift in the way society views a woman’s role in the public sphere, the media continues to treat female politicians and candidates in traditional gender role frames and often times, the blatantly sexist and gendered coverage continues
to affect the outcome of the campaign and the subsequent elections.
In most cases female politicians are covered in gendered terms, focusing on their marital status or appearance and emphasizing stereotypically “female” political issues like education and healthcare as feminine issue. Given such stereotypes the media not only undermines women’s credibility and focus on other important issues, such as the economy, foreign policy and military affairs but also confines them to a specific gender roles or type of coverage that is not necessarily appropriate or accurate. As women seek to serve in elective offices, they are subjected to more negative and increasingly gendered coverage. The higher they get in government, the more they are subjected to gender stereotypes in the news media due to the gendered way that executive level offices are typically
perceived by our society. The office of President, for example, “is the most manly of all areas” of politics, hence making femininity a big disadvantage to women candidates aspiring to occupy it.
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