Over the last 50 years, the issue of women in media has been continually brought to the forefront. This is because there is an emphasis on promoting ideas that are relevant to the largest demographics within society. While at the same time, there are discussions on those issues that are germane to specific groups (such as women). The basic idea is to be able to offer a wide range of content, on topics that are of most interest to everyone. However, when you look beneath the surface, it is clear that the majority of content in media is often focused towards men. This is because advertisers and studios are spotlighting the fact that males are earning more money in comparison with their female counterparts. Evidence of this can be seen with a study that was conducted by Economica. They found that over the last several years the pay gap between: men and women have decreased. However, women are generally earning less in comparison with their male counterparts. The below table is illustrating the overall scope of these changes since 1967.
Table 1: Wage Gap of Men in Comparison to Women
Percentage of Earnings to Men
This is significant, because it is showing how there is a direct link between gender and earnings. In the future, Economica estimates that this gap will decline to 22% by 2030. This is illustrating, how women are playing a more dominate role within society. Yet, it is also highlighting how vast disparities still exist.
As a result, the news media will often have content that will discuss issues that are most relevant to males (based upon this fact). Over the course of time, this means that there are less topics covered that are of interest to women. A good example of this can be seen in a study that was conducted by a Quebec political analyst named Denis Moniere. He determined that after watching 83 evening news cast (to include: the CBC and Radio Canada) that women were under represented by journalists. This is accomplished through interviewing men as experts, who are in positions of power. Commenting about these findings Moniere said, "Women's views were solicited mainly in the framework of average citizens and rarely as experts with the political or economic success stories overwhelmingly masculine. The number of female politicians interviewed was disproportionate to their numbers in Parliament or in the Quebec National Assembly." ("Media Coverage of Women") This is significant, because it is showing how women are continually ignored and stereotyped by the news media. Where, they are seen as less intelligent and unable to form opinions on issues that are important to the national debate.
The rationale for choosing this particular topic is to understand how frequently this occurs and the underlying reasons why. Once this takes place, is when I can offer specific insights about the trends and what changes could be taking place in the future. This is when I can see how women issues are being covered in the mainstream press and the way this role is changing.
To effectively focus my study, I will concentrate on a number of research questions. This will help me to look at specific aspects of the problem and it will allow me to see the overall patterns that have developed. Below are the different questions that I will be focusing on during the course of our project.
Are the trends changing to reflect women in more positive light in the news media?
Are the transformations a reflection of the shifting views within society?
Have women been changing their image in the media and the roles that they are playing in it?
These different questions are important, because they will help to focus the research on specific aspects of the problem. Once this occurs, is when I will understand what is happening and how the role of women in the media is continuing to evolve.
The various questions will help to support or refute the thesis statement of the project which is:
The role of women in society is changing. In the news media, these transformations are occurring slowly because of the dominance of males in the workplace. Once these issues have been addressed, women will have greater amounts of power and influence. This is when the content that is provided will reflect areas that are of interest to them.
To answer this thesis statement I will focus on a number of different aspects of the project to include: the methodology, literature review, the results and the discussion. Once this occurs, is when I will be able to support or refute the thesis statement that has been presented.
The methodology that I will be using is based off of an approach called mixed research. This is when you are utilizing a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to understand what is happening. Quantitative research is when you are focused on specific samples that were taken of the population. This can be accomplished through conducting your own independent study or using the data of others to understand the trends. While the qualitative approach, is when I am looking at other factors that could have an impact on the outcome of a study. This includes examining: the views of respondents, how social attitudes have impacted these ideas, how opinions have shifted and why this is taking place. Once this occurs, is when the mixed methodology will provide a balanced approach in: understanding the problem and how the views of society are constantly changing. (Johnson 112 -- 133) ("Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research")
The way that this will be accomplished is through conducting a literature view and focusing on primary sources. A primary source is data that was collected which has not been subject to any kind of evaluation by a third party. Some of the most relevant information that is a part of this category include: journals, books, government / industry documents and white papers. Once this takes place, is when I can see what the raw data is telling me about the past, current and future trends of women in the media. This is the point that I can be able to make accurate inferences about what is happening that will either support or refute the thesis statement that was presented earlier. ("Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Sources")
Once this occurs, I will examine the results of our finding through what is known as comparative analysis. This is when I will be looking at the information and comparing the results of each source with one another. The basic idea is to be able to understand the overall trends and how they are changing. This is when I can see how this is influencing the views of those who are inside the news media. Anything that does not follow the underlying trends will be disregarded. The reason why, is because this is considered to be an anomaly (as the data is more than likely flawed). ("Comparative Analysis")
The way that I will attain this information is through conducting a review of various government documents, academic journals and books. This will provide a more balanced approach in understanding the scope of the problem and the changes are occurring for the better. This is when I can offer specific insights that will support or refute the thesis statement that was introduced previously. The reason why I am using this kind of an approach is to understand how these changes are taking place and the main causes. Once this occurs, is when I can make predictions about future trends that can be utilized in other research projects.
These different elements are important, because they are showing how my methodology will be focused on taking a balanced approach when studying the problem. As I am using different kinds of research, in conjunction with one another through what is known as the mixed method. Once this takes place, is when I will use comparative analysis to identify and determine how these patterns are changing. This is the point that I can make the most accurate inferences about what is happening by being able to: support or refute the thesis statement along with research questions that were discussed earlier.
In the literature review I will be carefully studying the various sources that were discussed in the methodology section. This will improve my ability to identify the underlying trends and determine how they are changing. Once this occurs, is when these primary sources will help me to see if the data is supporting or refuting the thesis statement.
In the white paper that was written by Keown (2007), she talks about how the majority of Canadians follow national and world politics. Evidence of this can be seen by looking at the below tables. The first one is comparing the total number of men and women that take an interest in political issues. While the…