Major Research Project on The Role of Print Media in the Electoral Process with Special Reference to Women in India

Major Research Project on The Role of Print Media in the Electoral Process with Special Reference to Women in India

Dr Sagarika Golder

Associate Professor

Department of Media Studies

CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

Bangalore – 560029



The participation of Indian women in politics was not accidental. During the struggle for independence it became clear that by keeping half the population behind the veil, both literally and metaphorically, would not help the cause of freedom. The initiation of women of India into the political process was due to necessity. It was realised that unless both men and women fought together freedom would be a faraway dream. After India achieved independence, it was difficult for the emancipated woman to go back to her domestic chores. The homemaker was now striving to become the builder of the country.


With changing times and the changing role of the State, the meaning of participation has altered. In today‘s rapidly changing world, participation by proxy will not work. One has to be a part of the process in order to bring about change. This gives rise to the need of women to participate in the electoral politics of today.


Male dominance in the formal political systems is universal, but the degree of dominance may vary from place to place. Even when women do become a part of the formal political process as members of elite political groups, they are usually assigned to soft portfolios ?appropriate‘ for women‘s concerns. The many barriers to political participation that women face exist at different levels, both formal and informal, and they arise from socio-cultural values and practices that are firmly entrenched in systems and structures of society. By and large, in the entire Indian subcontinent, women who interact outside prescribed relations are viewed with suspicion. The family still regards its female members as weak and in need of protection throughout their lives. It is a popular perception that politics is a ?dirty game‘ not meant for women.


In addition to the social and societal prejudice, women in electoral politics have to face the prejudice of the most powerful weapon of the political war i. e. the media. In today‘s electoral process exit polls are more powerful than polls; the television debates exert more influence than political speeches. The fate of the candidate is decided much before the actual results based on the ?bytes‘ s/he gives.


The objective of the study is to look at print media representation of women political candidates in the general elections. News articles in three mainstream newspapers, The Times of India, The Hindu, and The Telegraph are analysed through content analysis and discourse analysis. A survey of about 600 respondents was also conducted to find out their

perceptions about the issue. Some expert interviews were also conducted in order to get their perception.


There have been innumerable studies about the negative media coverage of women in different fields. With passing time and changing statistics one hopes that we may get to see some change. A woman has a dual role in democracy. As a voter and, as a candidate. There is need to develop a system to provide women with information. Women also have to be taught to overcome the psychology of subordination, of being portrayed as victimised and helpless, and not be content with being guided by men. The women are fully aware of the importance of knowledge and skills to fulfil their new roles, and, in many instances, are creating new leadership models.


Year of Publication: June 2013

ISBN:   978-93-82305-28-6

Major Research Project : Vol 1 

Pages :   xiii,  180

Price: available on request

Funded by Centre for Research-Projects-CHRIST (Deemed to be University)

Published by Centre for Publications, CHRIST (Deemed to be University)