Visibility and invisibility: Exploring the representation of women and men in Irish politics. The example of the 2011 broadcasts

Martínez Lirola, María
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Although the socio-economic situation of Ireland has improved in the last decade, the situation of women continues to be unequal to men and there are certain limitations in their rights. Despite well-known exceptions, women have tended to be underrepresented in Irish politics. However, in the last elections some of them decided to run for the Republic’s presidency as well as to become the first female Irish Prime Minister. In this sense, this research paper will try to contribute to the representation of women in the 2011 campaigns. Both general and presidential referendums will be under analysis. Our sample will consist of the most representative TV broadcasts of the main political parties (i.e. Fianna Feil, Fine Gael, Sinn Fein, among others). As regards methodology, we will aim for the combination of critical discourse analysis and multimodal critical discourse analysis in order to observe the main visual representation of politicians as social actors (van Leeuwen, 2008), and consider the possible similarities and differences between women and men politicians. The study aims to observe if there are as many women as men politicians in the broadcasts of the 2011 electoral campaigns in Ireland and to pay attention to the way women and men politicians are portrayed in the broadcasts under analysis. The analysis will show that politicians are portrayed as elite individuals, that there is a general positive representation of the candidates and that women are underrepresented in Irish politics, which points out that it continues being a challenge for democracy the participation of women in politics since their representation or role is not equal compared to men ​
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