Biased portrayal of women in mass media

Other Names:
Negative portrayal of women in the media
Exploitative portrayal of women in media
Trivialization by the media of the image of women

Mass media has significant influence in determining the cultural patterns which affect the full development of women. The influence of the media is male-oriented and tends to trivialize, undervalue and exploit the real contribution of women to society. While women come into many different categories and have widely varying social positions and educational levels, they tend to be depicted by one image, one role, or one life-style.


Media programmes and articles discriminate against women in various ways. There tend to be women's sections or pages, set aside from the rest of the publication or programme. In the USA, it is reported that one of the major television networks broadcast no news programmes, no editorials, no public affairs programmes, and no documentaries during the daytime hours when housewives and mothers are the majority of the television audience.

A European survey (2001) found that young women think the media's power is often used against women and that the media exploits the image of women as sex objects at every turn, thereby helping to reinforce damaging stereotypes. Young women were found to agree unanimously that this partial, sexualised and often degrading image is an important element in maintaining discrimination against women.

Related Problems:
Broadcast pornography
Exploitative films
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
Problem Type:
E: Emanations of other problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST