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Female Politicians Disadvantaged by Online Prejudices and Stereotypes

Newswise — Studies of Reddit content demonstrate that female politicians are more likely to be referred to by their first names and language describing appearance and family relationships. Their male counterparts are generally referred to more respectfully and with an emphasis on language having to do with their profession. This is the finding of a new study from the University of Copenhagen. Previous work from the researchers investigated gender differences in search engine results and language models with the same main conclusion: gender bias is widespread online. According to the researchers, this disadvantages female politicians.

In the run up to both the Danish parliamentary and US mid-term elections, many first-time voters are heading online to find out more about political candidates. So far so good.

But gender bias – the prejudices and stereotypes about men and women that shape the way we regard both genders – permeates the internet and readily shapes information presented to voters. Previous research projects from researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Computer Science have identified a food chain of gender bias online. That work is now further supported by their new study that investigates content on the social media website Reddit.


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