Media representation of South Africas female politicians : the case of the Mail & Guardian – 2010 to 2011

Phiri, Millie Mayiziveyi (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is a feminist investigation of the reporting on the female politicians in the Mail & Guardian using the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development media requirements on content as the yardstick. The Protocol is a regional policy adopted in 2008 by regional governments aimed at achieving gender equity in key sectors by 2015. The Protocol is a regional instrument set up to assist in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The study investigated whether the Protocol’s media requirements were being observed by the Mail&Guardian. The media’s role of providing information can assist the MDGs to be met. These requirements encourage the media in the region to reach gender parity in the use of news sources and writing of news reports that help to reduce gender-based violence and the portrayal of women that is not stereotypic and oppressive. The themes of the study, which were “gender-based violence”, “gender oppression” and “stereotypes against women” were influenced by these requirements. Gender-based violence is a major impediment to development in Africa because of the heavy financial burden it puts on governments and communities to treat victims and offer them shelter and counselling. Gender-based violence affects women’s full productivity in society because it results in death or victims remaining absent from work while they seek treatment. Stereotypes and gender oppression are viewed as dangerous because not only do they deny younger generations role models but they perpetuate the insubordination of women in society. The study linked the themes to female parliamentarians because being legislators and policy makers, they have a strategic and critical role to play in helping to achieve gender equity. There is a perception that female politicians offer different perspectives to issues. The media can be a vehicle through which these female politicians can express their opinions. This is because the media is supposed to offer freedom of expression to all its citizens regardless of gender. In order to examine if the female ideology had a place in the Mail & Guardian a feminist theoretical approach was used. The study employed a triangulation approach in which both the qualitative and quantitative research methodologies were used. The quantitative method was employed to a small extent to quantify the coverage of female politicians. Triangulation in data collection entailed using both the content analysis and in-depth interviews. Findings of the study showed a violation of the Protocol’s media requirements. News reporting about female politicians centred on scandals and controversies and journalists and editors were ignorant of the Protocol’s media requirements.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie was ’n feministiese ondersoek na die Mail & Guardian se verslaggewing oor vrouepolitici. Dis gedoen met die interregeringsorganisasie, die Suider-Afrikaanse Ontwikkelingsgemeenskap (SAOG), se Protokol oor Geslag en Ontwikkeling as maatstaf. Die Protokol is ’n beleid wat in 2008 deur die owerhede van die SAOG-lidlande van stapel gestuur is, met die oog op geslagsgelykheid in sleutelsektore teen 2015. Dit dien as instrument en hulpmiddel in die nastreef van bogenoemde. Die studie stel ondersoek in na die handhawing, al dan nie, van die Protokol se mediavereistes deur die Mail & Guardian. Die media se rol as verskaffer van inligting kan die strewe hierna bevorder. Die vereistes moedig die media in die onderskeie streke aan om geslagsgelykheid toe te pas wat betref die gebruik van nuusbronne, die skep van nuusberigte wat bydra tot die vermindering van geslagsgebaseerde geweld en die uitbeeld van vroue wat wegskram van stereotipering en onderdrukking. Die temas van die studie-"geslagsgebaseerde geweld", "geslagsonderdrukking" en “stereotipering van vroue" is gevolglik deur die Protokol se vereistes beïnvloed. Geslagsgebaseerde geweld is ’n wesenlike struikelblok in die pad van ontwikkeling in Afrika, deels weens die swaar finansiële las wat dit plaas op gemeenskaplike en regeringsvlak. Só moet slagoffers dikwels behandeling, skuiling en berading ontvang. Dit het ook ’n besliste impak op vroue se produktiwiteit in die breër samelewing, aangesien slagoffers van geslagsgebaseerde geweld in sommige gevalle afwesig is uit die werksomgewing om behandel te word of-in meer ernstige gevalle-sterf. Stereotipering en onderdrukking word as uiters gevaarlik beskou, aangesien dit nie nét die ondergeskiktheid van vroue laat voortleef nie; maar boonop jonger generasies van rolmodelle ontneem. Die temas van die studie word verbind met vroulike parlementslede weens hul rolle as beleidsopstellers en wetmakers. Dié vroue het strategiese en belangrike verpligtinge om na te kom in die strewe na geslagsgelykheid. Die persepsie bestaan dat vroue-politici dikwels ’n ander, nuwe perspektief op kwessies bied. Die media kan in dié opsig as ’n waardevolle voertuig aangewend word om die perspektiewe tuis te bring. Die media het ook ’n plig om vryheid van uitdrukking te verseker aan alle landsburgers - ongeag hulle geslag. Ten einde te bepaal of die ideologie deur die Mail & Guardian toegepas is, is ’n feministiese teoretiese aanslag gevolg. Die studie het gebruik gemaak van triangulasie, waartydens beide kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe navorsingsmetodologieë ingespan is. Die kwantitatiewe metode is gebruik om die mediadekking van vroue-politici te kwantifiseer. Triangulasie is ook tydens die data-insamelingsproses gebruik. Dit het ingesluit die aanwend van inhoudsanalises, asook in-diepte onderhoude. Die bevinding van die studie dui op die oortreding van die Protokol se mediavereistes. Verslaggewing oor vroue-politici is grootliks toegespits op skandale en omstredenheid en beide joernaliste en inhoudsredakteurs blyk onkundig te wees oor die vereistes.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86556
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