No Gender Bias in Audience Perceptions of Male and Female Experts in the News: Equally Competent and Persuasive

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Experts are prevalent and persuasive in modern media coverage of politics. The perceived competence of experts makes them popular sources in the media, and their statements can in some cases move citizens’ policy opinions substantially. However, men are generally used far more as experts than women are. Because of this predominance of male experts and general biases against women, we theorize that media audiences may find women to be less competent and consequently less persuasive as experts on policy issues. We investigate this through two experiments embedded in a survey with more than 2000 respondents in Denmark. Despite advances in gender equality, women are still in the minority among experts used in the Danish news media. However, despite this current gender imbalance, we find no gender biases against women as policy experts among the Danish news media audience. There are no significant differences in the perceptions of the competence of male and female experts, and the persuasiveness of the experts are also unrelated to the gender of the expert. These results hold across different policy issues, and across practically all demographics within the media audiences. These results are relevant both to the study of gender representation in the mass media, and to the study of gender biases more generally. Furthermore, the results are important for discussions on news media selection of experts
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Press/Politics
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)116-137
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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