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An analysis of the representation of female and male politicians during the 2016 South African local government elections : a case study of the Pietermaritzburg daily newspaper, The Witness.

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The representation of female and male politicians within the media has been discussed and debated widely across the globe. This study uses The Witness newspaper to analyse the representation of the South African male and female politicians during the 2016 local government elections. This study implemented a qualitative research method with an interpretive paradigm which is a useful technique in qualitative research methods. Furthermore, this study also used a textual analysis, critical discourse analysis and frame analysis to examine data collected from The Witness articles, and government documents such as executive reports. The study explored whether The Witness reinforces gender stereotypes assigned to South African men and women in general, and whether these stereotypes are reflected in South African politicians. It examined whether The Witness equally represented South African male and female politicians. The findings of this research show that there are still some differences and inequalities that exist between male and female politicians in terms of their representation in the political realm, partly because women still have low representation in parliament. Furthermore, a substantial number of women struggle to enter executive or prominent positions within our society, which remains largely dominated by men.


Master of Art in Media and Cultural Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.