Challenging Gendered Media Mis(s)Representations of Women Leaders

Seminar series overview

Dr Valerie Stead, Lancaster University Management School with Professor Carole Elliott and Professor Sharon Mavin from Roehampton University and Dr Jannine Williams from Bradford School of Management have been awarded funding by the European Social Research Council to host a three year programme of seminars to examine gendered media misrepresentations of women leaders and professionals.

The media is a powerful player in the promotion or otherwise of gender equality worldwide and media representations of women have great impact on how women are viewed and view themselves.

However, a continued media focus on women's gender, not competence, ignores women's achievements as leaders and professionals, misrepresenting their ability, contribution and advancement. This innovative seminar series explores, examines and challenges how media shapes and influences the way in which women are constructed as professionals and leaders. Unique in bringing together leading international researchers from multiple disciplines, journalists, lobbyists and those committed to the progress of women professionals and leaders, this series aims to;

  • raise awareness and understanding of gendered stereotypes of women and their effects
  • challenge the gendered construction of women leaders in the media
  • identify future research agendas for academics and practitioners in management and business.

Seminar series themes

The seminar series has nine seminars over three years which follow three themes:

  1. Gendered media misrepresentations: why do they matter and how do we know?
  2. Developing research capacity for management and business studies: multidisciplinary methodologies, theories and concepts/analysing media texts and visual methods
  3. Developing priority research agendas and maximising impact

Each theme will be developed in three seminars over three years. The final seminar, in June 2017, will be a one-day conference to consolidate knowledge exchange and research priorities.

Seminar 7: Ruth Cadbury MP chairs discussion of women’s representation in the media at the House of Commons

Journalists, academics and business people joined Ruth Cadbury MP at the House of Commons to discuss current representations of women in the media, the challenges and changes needed to gain impact and set a positive tone in society on how women are portrayed.

This is the seventh seminar of the ESRC-funded series ‘Challenging Gendered Media Mis(s)representations of Women Professionals and Leaders’ a collaborative project including Professors Carole Elliott and Sharon Mavin (Roehampton University), Dr Valerie Stead (Lancaster University) and Dr Jannine Williams, (Bradford University).

Held at the House of Commons, and hosted by Dr Jannine Williams the seminar discussed the ways in which women are portrayed in the media, the powers that make these decisions, and what needs to change to create a shift in these representations.

Speakers included Dr Simon Hodgson, Managing Partner of Carnstone Partners LLP and Chair, Media CSR Forum and producer of the ‘Mirrors or Movers’ report. Noting  how ‘the media sector’s footprint may be modest, but its ‘brainprint’ is enormous’ led to discussion of the impact of the media on the public’s thinking.

Barbara Govan, CEO of Screenhouse Production, raised the need for women to come forward as experts and commentators to balance a largely male dominated pool of experts on which the media draw.

Katie Hind, a freelance journalist and member of the Women in Journalism Committee spoke about her experience of  working in the media, and how women’s achievements are  often overshadowed by a focus on their clothing and bodies.

A final discussion chaired by Professor Sharon Mavin, raised important issues for action and research including lobbying television and media events to include greater representation of women and gaining greater understanding of the role of social media on young women and more broadly on attitudes to women.

The final seminar event will be a one day conference, and will be held on 15th June 2017 in central London. For more information please click here.


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