Institutional Repository

The representation of female politicians in Zimbabwean print media : 2000-2008

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Khan, K. B. Parichi, Mandiedza 2017-07-10T09:59:03Z 2017-07-10T09:59:03Z 2016-11
dc.identifier.citation Parichi, Mandiedza (2016) The representation of female politicians in Zimbabwean print media : 2000-2008, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <>
dc.description.abstract This study is motivated by the realisation that, in post-2000 Zimbabwe, while the contest pitting one political formation against another has been given prominence in the media, an important struggle that has attracted little attention during this period has been that of the genders, in particular the competition between men and women for the right and power to govern the country. Media organisations have participated in this struggle by developing and distributing images of the various interest groups in the political fray, including men and women. The media has, thus, played a key role in developing conceptual tools to apprehend the condition of female and male politicians in Zimbabwean society (Bhebhe, 2016), thereby implicitly distributing power to one or the other group. This study has, therefore, examined the representation of female politicians in three Zimbabwean newspapers, namely Kwayedza, The Standard and the Financial Gazette, during the four election held between 2000 and 2008. The study was guided by the following concerns: the way images of female politicians were projected in the print media in Zimbabwe during the period in question, how the political affiliation of the three newspapers influenced the coverage of female politicians, and how female politicians were represented in different languages (i.e.Shona and English). The study tested the following hypotheses: women were generally represented as unfit for public office; images developed by the different newspapers were determined by the newspapers’ preference between the two major political parties, the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC); the representation of female politicians was determined by the language (Shona or English) used by the newspaper; and newspaper owners determined the way female politicians were portrayed. The study made use of qualitative content analysis to examine the representation of female politicians in the above-named newspapers, coding selected stories in terms of these frames: female politicians as mothers and housewives, and female politicians as inadequate and unfit for political office, as well as double bind dilemmas. As expected, the privately-ownednewspapers, the Financial Gazette and The Standard, negatively portrayed ZANU PF female politicians negatively, while the state-owned Kwayedza was hostile to MDC female politicians. The study, however found that, beyond this inevitable trait of a polarised media, all three newspapers shared many tendencies in their coverage of female politicians. For instance, across the three newspapers, female politicians were marginalized through iv omission. They were also trivialised by being portrayed in terms of frames irrelevant to politics. Thus, of the three newspapers, only The Standard did not make use of the motherhood and wifehood frame in its representation of female politicians. More significantly, the double bind dilemma is a rhetoric device that permeates stories on female politicians in all three newspapers to the extent that, even in those stories where the two frames were used, the frames are constructed in terms of double binds. Zimbabwean female politicians are thus portrayed as hamstrung candidates, neither fit for public office nor eligible for marriage and motherhood. This double bind is particularly damaging for indigenous black Zimbabwean female politicians since a major finding of this study is that the stories examined construct motherhood as a powerful form of elevation of female politicians as it is consistently associated with a select few female politicians, the elite of Zimbabwean politics, those at very apex of the political pyramid. This makes the combination of the frames and the double bind dilemma much more harmful to the careers of Zimbabwean female politicians than it would be in a non-African context. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (ix, 278 leaves) : photograph (some color)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject.ddc 320.96891090511
dc.subject.lcsh Zimbabwe -- Politics and government -- 1980-
dc.subject.lcsh Politicians -- Zimbabwe -- 1980-
dc.subject.lcsh Females -- Politics and government -- 1980-
dc.title The representation of female politicians in Zimbabwean print media : 2000-2008 en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Communication Science en D. Litt. et Phil. (Communication)

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search UnisaIR


My Account