3 | Media Most interviewees had not had to deal with the media during their campaigns. Still, some women interviewees, who had several mandates, felt that they had established good relationships with the media. At the same time, the interviewed women reported several difficulties and unproductive experiences during their collaboration with mass media. -> They felt excluded because they did not have the resources to pay for media coverage. -> They felt the media was not interested in local elections. -> They were asked about their family circumstances, which they did not believe was a question that would have been asked of male candidates. -> They were challenged about standing for office as a woman. The researcher from Armenia concluded that there was a belief that women were used by parties to appear on television when there was a negative message to convey. There was little evidence that the media, in any of the study countries, had played a positive role in challenging stereotypical attitudes about women.
— Summary of findings ->
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-> -> Marina Gachechiladze, Head of Department for Regional Development, Samckhe-Javakheti Region, Georgia
Women’s political representation in the Eastern Partnership countries
There are deep and prevailing stereotypical views and cultural attitudes about the role women should play in society. Women are expected to look after the home and family and men are seen as the decision makers and breadwinners. This has implications for women seeing themselves as potential holders of political office, on those who select them as candidates and for voters. Women are at a disadvantage in economic life. They are less likely to participate in the labour market than men. The rates of labour market participation for women have fallen in all the study countries except Azerbaijan. Women have lower levels of income than men measured by an estimate of gross national income. The gap between the income of women and men is generally higher in the study countries than it is in the European countries with the highest levels of women in parliament. Women suffer from gender segregation in employment, working in public services such as education and healthcare, which are less well paid. Women do hold managerial roles in all the study countries but there is no data to show which levels of management they occupy. Even though women are more likely to have higher education than men, they do not gain positions in central administration in similar proportions. In Armenia and Belarus there are no specific laws against violence against women. Where there are specific laws few women victims are willing to come forward and few cases are investigated or prosecuted by the criminal justice services. In some countries, Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine for example, women NGOs have been working closely with politicians to lobby for and introduce quotas and positive measures to increase women’s political representation. New media is becoming an increasing source of information for citizens and it is beginning to be used by political representatives. Gender-segregated information on internally displaced people, national minorities and citizens living abroad is not available. The women interviewed for the study and the researchers mentioned most frequently stereotypical attitudes and the prevailing cultural assumptions as the major barrier preventing women getting involved in political life. Stereotypical attitudes were manifest not just in the views of voters but also frequently in the views of opponents and even political colleagues. There are positive signs of progress from the attitude surveys from the different countries. The attitudes towards women as not able to take decisions and therefore not suitable to hold political office are changing. Young people are least likely to think that women are incapable of being politicians and they will inevitably become the majority of voters. The research conducted by NDI in Ukraine demonstrates that voters are more concerned with the individual’s qualities, with their political views and qualifications than they are with their gender. There was little evidence that the media, in any of the study countries, had played a positive role in challenging stereotypical attitudes about women.
Findings of the study