Post-Conference at the 2019 ICA, Washington DC

Co-sponsored by the ICA Political Communication Division & Department of Communication Science of the University of Vienna & Department of Political Science of the University of Amsterdam & Research Group on Political Communication of the University of Vienna & the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research through Daphne van der Pas’ Veni-grant


Politics, Gender and Communication: Theoretical Insights and Empirical Evidence

Loes Aaldering (University of Vienna)

Daphne van der Pas (University of Amsterdam)


Women are almost universally underrepresented in politics. Although the norm of gender equality has been widely supported in Western societies for decades, this has not translated into gender-equal politics: while there has been a wide range of female governors, legislators, (prime) ministers and party leaders, a large majority of the higher offices and governing positions are still filled by men. This post-conference focusses on two possible explanations of the underrepresentation of women in political life:


1) The campaign strategies of candidates. As politicians have to deal with different stereotypes that exist in the electorate, male and female politicians are likely to highlight different issues, character traits, aspects of their background and ambitions for the future in their communication to the public. This post-conference invites papers that study gender differences in political campaign strategies and the controlled communication of the candidate (for instance on social media), and/or the differences in the impact of these political messages for male and female politicians on voters.


2) Coverage of politicians by the media. Not only the behavior of politicians is relevant in current-day political reality: Politicians operate in a strongly mediatized political environment where the media are citizens’ primary source of political information. Thus, a systematic gender bias in the media coverage of politicians is likely to contribute to the underrepresentation of women in politics. This post-conference welcomes papers that study the differences in the portrayal of males and females in political life in the media or online, whether it be the quantity of the media attention or the content of the coverage.


The goal of this post-conference is to discuss relevant and interesting research on the intersection of gender, politics and communication, that helps us understand gender differences in media coverage and candidate communication in the political world. We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers and we aspire to bring together qualitative and quantitative researchers, who use experimental designs, interviews, content analysis, survey studies or other relevant methods. Papers that explicitly aim to strengthen our understanding of the causality involved gender differences or communication effects are encouraged. In addition, we are also particularly interested in papers that employ cutting edge research methods to study political communication in an automated fashion. We believe this post-conference is especially relevant for researchers in the Political Communication Division, and we plan to publish selected contributions in a special issue of a ranked journal.


How to apply:

Please submit an extended abstract of a maximum of five pages (including tables, figures and references) to Loes Aaldering (loes.aaldering@univie.ac.at) by January 23, 2019. The extended abstract should include the research question, the theoretical framework, the methodology and the (preliminary) results in case of empirical work. All applicants will be notified by February 16, 2019 the latest whether their contribution is accepted. The post-conference is a full-day conference (9 am to 6 pm), held at the ICA conference hotel in Washington DC on Wednesday May 29, 2019. The cost will be $35 and lunch is included.


If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact Loes Aaldering (loes.aaldering@univie.ac.at) or Daphne van der Pas (d.j.vanderpas@uva.nl).